Nikita Dragun is facing backlash for a recent tweet that many have deemed culturally insensitive.
No stranger to controversy, the YouTube personality has been criticised over the years for appropriating Black culture with her ever-changing skin tone, speaking with a faux-Blaccent, and frequently sporting Black hairstyles.
Despite attempts to educate the 24-year-old on why Blackfishing is not okay, Nikita has chosen to ignore her followers’ pleas while neglecting to seriously address the criticism. Though her reputation has remained relatively unscathed, it now seems the viral star may have taken it too far.
On Sunday morning, Nikita seemed to make light of the situation when she tweeted out, “What race is Nikita gonna be today?”
The since-deleted tweet immediately garnered backlash, with thousands and fans and fellow influencers calling Nikita out for being insensitive and perpetuating racism, including beauty guru Nyma Tang. The influencer then went on to explain that her tweet was about being mixed-race— both Hispanic and Asian— and not a commentary on accusations of Blackfishing.
“I know it’s a joke to comment on my race but I’m really tired of having to defend myself on every post,” she tweeted. “‘She’s Hispanic today’ I’m Hispanic every day. My mom is Mexican. My dad is Asian. I’m mixed. The end. Bye.”
Nikita went on to say that “growing up mixed, I was never fully accepted. I don’t have to pick a side. I am not incomplete of my races. I do not lack anything. I am proud of ALL of me.”
Regardless of intent, Nikita’s explanation didn’t sit well with some fans, who responded to the social media star with examples of her Blackfishing.
Nikita addressed the accusations in a quote tweet with a side-by-side photo comparison of her skin tone in winter vs. summer to show how deep her tan becomes in the sun.
YouTuber Dasia Janae replied to Nikita’s defense, explaining that having tan skin in the summer “proves absolutely nothing” as Nikita’s Blackfishing goes beyond her skin tone.
“It’s the culture appropriation on top of the darker skin that makes its black fishing. It’s the lace front wigs/ braids with edges, it’s the Black features all of a sudden popping out,” she tweeted. “It’s the AAVE, it’s the Blaccent…It’s the durags, it’s you speaking over Black people and being loud and wrong when we try to correct you and let you know it’s disrespectful. It’s you and so many others profiting off of Black culture and not realizing how hurtful it is to us but still continuing to do it.”
The influencer also addressed backlash she received years ago for a Jeffree Star Cosmetics campaign, where Nikita’s skin tone was noticeably darker. “I was hired as a model,” she tweeted of the campaign shoot. “I didn’t have any control over editing. I showed up, did my job and left.” She then attached an unedited photo from the same modeling gig where her skin tone appears much lighter. “This was a photo from that same day.”
This isn’t the first time the viral star has been at the center of a Twitter scandal this year. In early August, the beauty guru came under fire following the reveal of her DragunGlass matte liquid lipsticks— the latest launch from her namesake brand, Dragun Beauty. In a series of tweets, indie makeup brand Opalescent Beauty accused Dragun Beauty of ripping off their lipgloss packaging design that took them “a year” to get their hands on.
At the time, Nikita maintained that she had never heard of the brand nor had she ever come across their packaging. It was later confirmed that Opalescent Beauty does not have the design copyrighted and the components in question are stock options at many labs.