To celebrate turning 18, Jaiah Fern got all dolled up for a fun night out with friends. With her makeup fresh, she took a few selfies and later shared them to Twitter. The series of images then went viral, receiving more than 1,000 retweets and 4,000 likes.
However, it wasn’t the pouty lips painted pink or the exaggerated cat eye that caught so many people’s attention. Rather, it was the college student’s resemblance to rapper Nicki Minaj.
You look like nicki you're sooo pretty https://t.co/0frXQWsc3h
— A a l i y a h (@blackkunicornz) October 4, 2017
But while a majority of the interactions involved piling praise on the teen, others joined in on the thread and pointed out that Fern’s skin complexion is naturally much lighter than the shade it appears to be in her most recent images.
This is a white woman
— Octavia (@SweetxChills) October 4, 2017
Many began accusing her of blackface, saying that she purposely set out to look like the rapper.
She white sis. She doing blackface
— Alex (@dumbbassalex) October 4, 2017
This is a white woman. Why are y'all praising her?! THIS IS BLACKFACE. Blackness is not a costume! Nicki Minaj is not a costume! DAFUQ! pic.twitter.com/sjUKzaIe4B
— The Observant Nubian (@ICanSEEYallTho) October 4, 2017
Blackface is racist…there’s no “trying” in it
— Peppa Pig Stan (@alienheaux) October 4, 2017
I’m white and I think you are mad embarrassing. Take off that makeup and face the fact you’re a white
— Spooky (@havana_bluex) October 5, 2017
In response to the criticism, Fern tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she never intentionally tried to look like Minaj. “I just did my makeup as usual and posted my pictures and they blew up,” she says.
Many Twitter users agree with Fern’s statement, noticing that her skin color is the same, it was just the hair color that she changed.
She's literally the same complexion here and no one accused her of Black Face. It's the dark hair that's throwing y'all off. Let her be. pic.twitter.com/JkVjS2ic6Y
— Stefano Dimera (@2much336) October 4, 2017
Fern adds, “I think the dark hair combined with my tan and other facial features that make me look kind of ambiguous? I don’t know. My foundation shade has always been the same.”
Fern is not used to the controversy her selfies received. She admits that like any other woman her age, she likes to go out with her friends and go to school.
“I’m not trying to be Nicki or use her as a costume in any way,” she says.
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