sabrina claudio is the latest artist who profits from black culture but hates blackness

April 11, 2018
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By Arielle Gray, AFROPUNK contributor

There’s nothing like when social media comes back to bite you in the ass. And that’s exactly what happened to singer/ songwriter Sabrina Claudio on Monday when #BlackTwitter got a hold of Claudio’s old Twitter account. From an old “troll” account “@ODamnYoureUgly, Claudio posted multiple disparaging comments about Black women and dark-skinned Latinas. She admitted to owning the account to a fan during the conversation.

Comments made on the old account ranged from the singer claiming she wanted to be a “black girl for Halloween” to “it must suck to be a black girl” with no “booty”. Claudio also uses the word “nigga” a multitude of times and criticizes “Hispanic girls who talk like they’re black”. While the singer claims the old account is not representative of her viewpoints now, fans also dredged up comments made by the singer earlier this year where she says she’d rather be a “pasty white girl than a sweaty chonga” in response to another comment she was tagged in.

Claudio recently released a statement, apologizing for her previous comments and claiming that she will use it as an opportunity to “learn”. But we’re tired of anti-blackness being “learning experiences” for white and white passing POC. It is more than just a “learning experience”. Figure out how to use privilege to combat the very anti-blackness that was spread. Figure out how to dismantle the systems that give you privilege because of your proximity to whiteness. Anything but claiming you’ll “learn” from it.

One of the biggest misconceptions about racism and anti-blackness is those fellow people of color cannot participate in perpetuating it. We saw the same argument surface when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin- because of Zimmerman’s Latino, he couldn’t have possibly been acting out of racism right? Time and time again, we’ve witnessed how rampant anti-blackness runs in Latin America. and we’ve seen this ideology manifest itself multiple times in the form of Latinx identifying artists. Producer Young Hollywood dismissed Afro-Latina Amara La Negra’s identity, telling her she should straighten her afro to be more “elegant”, for which he was summarily dragged. Former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello, another white Latina, was exposed for previous Twitter comments in which she uses coded racist language like “hood rat” and “ghetto” and (this one’s our favorite) “nigga”. Selena Gomez was also exposed for her offhand comments about hashtag movements and BLM in 2016.

Claudio clearly doesn’t identify as being Afro-Latina- she is, as she said in her most recent derogatory tweet, “a pasty white girl”. Yet the singer has established an incredibly strong fan base in the Black community, due to her sound and her various collabs with artists like 6LACK and Khalid. Blackness is profitable for Claudio, as it is for so many artists like her. For them, blackness is a costume, like wanting to be a “black girl for Halloween”, to wear when it’s deemed profitable. Artists frolic in the land of Black culture for a time before returning to the safe arms of their White identity. From Miley Cyrus to Post Malone to (now) Sabrina Claudio, our music industry is rife with artists who are more than willing to use Blackness as a marketing strategy. With the commodification of Black culture invariably comes anti-blackness- Black people cannot be the dictators of culture and recognized as such at the same time.

That would mean paying homage where it’s due and to put it quite simply, nobody ever wants to credit Black people for sh*t.