Saweetie slammed for 'Tap In' collab with 'culture vulture' Nikita Dragun, fans want a black trans woman instead
Youtuber and influencer Dragun has been called out for 'blackfishing' and cultural appropriation and fans wonder why rapper Saweetie worked with her
Rapper Saweetie and YouTuber and influencer Nikita Dragun have dropped their latest collaboration, a music video featuring the two artists clad in sparkling lingerie as they go grocery shopping, while wearing masks, to the tune of Saweetie's latest track, 'Tap In'. A clip of the video was posted on Dragun's Instagram page along with the caption, "2 years ago my life changed when I played Icy and strutted down a hallway being extra af... my very 1st pussystunt was to @saweetie now fast forward and we had to come together! We have been planning this for so long now...I think it's about time the world witnessed the power of two pretty independent boss women coming together to SHUT IT DOWN. Lil waist fat azz bish TAP IN!" 'Icy', Saweetie's second major-label EP which dropped last year, included several charting tracks including 'Icy Girl', the song that put the rapper on everyone's radar.
Fans of Dragun were naturally excited to see her and Saweetie together, tweeting, "@NikitaDragun At first I didn't think it was @Saweetie in your Ig than I realized it was :ooooo when I realized! I'm like Iconic! <3 Fashion Icons <3 <3 Fireeee <3 Queens slay with queens." Unfortunately, the joy was rather shortlived as many soon starting calling out Saweetie for choosing to work with Dragun. The two have previously worked together in YouTube videos, so this is hardly their first collaboration, but it is, nonetheless, drawing intense criticism, particularly on account of Saweetie's choice to work with someone who is considered problematic by the online community. "Her rolling with Nikita is giving me bad vibes," tweeted one user. While another person tweeted, "If you say you aren’t in love w @NikitaDragun you’re lying," one user responded stating, "I’m not lying i f*ckin hate her lol." And it only went from bad to worse with one user wondering, "Yea I have no idea why some of these new girlies are associating with nikita after all the harmful sh*t she’s done I assume they just may not know bc nikita is irrelevant."
Saweetie increasingly found herself at the receiving end of criticism, with many asking why she chose to work with someone who has been accused of being anti-black. "I mean they ate but why Saweetie really choose Ms Nikita Dragun who is anti-black? Why didn't she book Black trans women? hmmmm," asked one user, while another said, "Bbygirl a whole college graduate with honors and be doing dumb sh*t like this / idk why all these girls like Nikita."
As one user asked, "Is it ridiculous to be disappointed that she didn’t pick a black trans woman for this instead?" adding, "Regardless, that’s how I feel. Saweetie looks amazing though," another responded, "Not ridiculous at all. Silly of her to pick Nikita blackfishing *ss tbh." Blackfishing, a relatively new term that has been added to the social justice lexicon, refers to the act of a non-black person trying to appear black by using makeup, hair products, tanning and in rarer cases surgery to alter their appearance and cash-in on trendy aspects of black culture. The term is a portmanteau of 'black' and 'catfishing', the latter being a term that refers to the act of faking an identity online as a way to commit fraud or abuse a targeted victim. While catfishing is largely done to scam unsuspecting victims via online dating sites or apps, Blackfishing is largely done by influencers or celebrities (Ariana Grande being one of the artists accused of doing it) and is considered a form of blackface. Dragun, who has been seen wearing various shades of foundation over the years and is known to employ a 'blaccent', or a stereotypical 'black accent' associated with African-Americans that uses copious amounts of local black slang, has been mostly unbothered by the criticism, tweeting, "I get talked about everyday what’s new?" but it appears the backlash is not dying down.
"I get she’s trying to promote her new single but Saweetie could’ve read the room," tweeted one user, adding, "There are too many fine BLACK trans women out here for her to just toss Nikita Dragun’s racist *ss in our faces like that. Come up with something else sis. And figure it out QUICKLY." Another tweeted, "Tf was saweetie thinking with NIKITA??? & ik homegirl was rapping the n-word under her breath," while one quipped, "The way shes like 3 different shades in this one video."
One user shared, "Can’t believe y’all hoes letting Nikita make profit being a culture vulture... I’m sick and tired," with another adding, "She steals a part of culture (black culture mainly) to show off as a trophy/aesthetic, only to spit on the people it came from. She’s just overall problematic and toxic." When some questioned whether Dragun actually appropriates from other cultures, some responded stating, "Nikita does black fish and cultural appropriate...uh???" along with images highlighting the same.
And while most of the criticism was directed at Dragun, some came for Saweetie as well, tweeting, "Saweetie and Nikita Dragun collabing while they’ve appropriated each other’s cultures >>>> big brain moves." The user further clarified, "Nikita is half Viet and Saweetie (half Filipina-Chinese) wore the ao dai (a traditional, modest Viet dress meant to be worn with pants like on the left**) w/o pants. a lot of traditional Asian clothes have been sexualized and it’s rlly not appropriate at all."
Amidst the chaos, some users pointed out a different issue: transphobia. Dragun, a trans woman, found herself at the receiving end of hate for her looks as part of the larger drag-and-cancel wave that was targetting her. And many called out the comments that attacked her appearance and identity. One user tweeted that despite her being "problematic" and "black fishing and saying slurs...no one deserves to be dragged because of looks." Another pointed out, "Nikita has done some sh*tty things but that doesn't mean you can be transphobic."