The term, as Canadian journalist Wanna Thompson said in 2018, refers to the act of “Blackfishing” and the appropriation of another’s racial background for self-gain.
TikTok user @kuzumi.n was among many to highlight how Grande’s eye makeup, bowties and posing were “a little too similar” to an average K-pop star, “considering Ariana Grande is a white woman”.
“It’s a combination of the innocent posing, the little bows and s***. Even the colour of her lipstick,” said kuzumi.n, who said in another TikTok that the singer and her team had acted intentionally.
“You all need to remember that Ariana Grande is a very famous celebrity,” the TikTok user said, “and so the pictures that she puts out are intentional”.
@VictoriaAlxndr, another TikTok user, said it took her “longer than expected” to realise that the images were of Grande, and that it was “just an observation”.
Many were in agreement with both kuzumi.n and VictoriaAlxndr.
Oli London, a white British influencer who identifies as a transracial Korean and underwent “racial transition surgery” to appear like a member of BTS, the K-pop band, was among those to support Grande.
“Everyone back off Ariana Grande and stop being racist against her. She clearly identifies as ASIAN with her new look,” he tweeted on Tuesday, although the singer has not released any statement on the issue.
London went on to say that “No one should judge her, or use their White Privilege against her. She looks amazing. Proud of you Ari. We TRANSRACIALS must stick together.”
Many suggested that London’s comments were a sign that Grande was in fact attempting to appropriate an “Asian” appearance, with a TikTok user arguing that “If Oli can see what she’s doing then K-pop execs can see it.”
“I bet her team is working on trying to get a collab with a k-pop group”, the TikTok user added in a comment on one of kuzumi.n’s TikToks.
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