Nikita Dragun Addresses Blackfishing Accusations

Nikita Dragun arrives at the Sofia Richie x Missguided launch party at Bootsy Bellows on September 18, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.
Morgan Lieberman / Getty Images

Nikita Dragun, YouTuber, makeup artist, and model, took to Twitter to ask “what race is nikita gonna be today?”

Dragun’s tweet was in response to accusations of blackfishing and it did not go over well. The term blackfishing, a play on catfishing, is used when a non-Black person alters their appearance in order to appear Black. This often includes unnatural levels of self-tanner, and/or wearing hairstyles that are considered culturally significant to the Black community. Dragun has been accused of darkening her complexion to unnatural levels, as well as wearing hairstyles that many consider to be cultural appropriation. This is not the first time Dragun has been accused of blackfishing, but a recent Instagram post reignited the conversation, prompting her to speak out.

In response, one user questioned why Dragun still has such a large platform.

“Oh so you are aware that ur blackfishing for attention?? Noted,” another user replied, garnering 17.1 k likes.

According to PopBuzz, Dragun’s mother is Mexican and her father is Vietnamese, which she brought up while defending herself.

“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’s hispanic today’ i’m hispanic everyday. my mom is mexican. my dad is asian. i’m mixed. the end. bye.”

She referenced her struggles with race and identity in subsequent tweets. She explained that she never felt fully accepted as someone of mixed-race descent and that she doesn’t have to pick a side when it comes to her identity. She went on to state that she is proud of each aspect of her identity.

“Nobody is asking you to pick a side, we’re asking you to stop blackfishing…” another user replied.

Dragun continued to defend herself. In response to a side-by-side photo depicting her vastly different skin tones, she posted her own side-by-side, captioning two images “winter vs summer,” showing how different seasons affect her skin color.

In another tweet, she explained that she was hired as a model, and thus did not have any control over how the photos were edited. The photo in question was from a Jeffree Star Cosmetics photo shoot.

While most of the responses to Dragun’s tweet were negative, a few fans stood up for her.

“You must be proud of your goals, you are a real and unique person, let no one tell you otherwise,” one supporter wrote.

Dragun signaled the end of the conversation with a simple “peace out,” followed by a peace sign and kiss emoji.