This weekend wasn’t the first time Doja Cat came under fire for saying offensive things online, and it probably won’t be the last. Beginning Friday, fans took to Twitter under the hashtag #DojaCatIsOverParty after allegations surfaced that the singer, whose given name is Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini, had taken part in racist video chats and wrote a song in 2015 called “Dindu Nuffin,” a racist slur mocking victims of police brutality. Late Sunday, Doja Cat issued an apology for the song but denied taking part in racism online.
“I want to address what’s been happening on Twitter,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I’ve used public chat rooms to socialize since I was a child. I shouldn’t have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone I offended.”
Continued the singer, “I’m a black woman. Half of my family is black from South Africa and I’m very proud of where I come from.” Her father is South African actor Dumisani Dlamini, best known to American audiences for his turn in 1992’s Sarafina! across from Whoopi Goldberg.
According to Doja Cat, she did write and record “Dindu Nuffin,” but says it was a misguided attempted to reclaim the term as a person of color. “As for the old song that’s resurfaced, it was in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience. It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me. I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music.”
Writes the singer, “I understand my influence and impact and I’m taking this all very seriously. I love you all and I’m sorry for upsetting or hurting any of you. That’s not my character, and I’m determined to show that to everyone moving forward. Thank you.” Doja’s statement comes on the heels of a meteoric rise that included the artist’s first Billboard No 1. for the “Say So” remix with Nicki Minaj just two weeks ago.
Update, Tuesday, May 26 at 8:00 a.m.: Yeah, Doja Cat knew that apology wasn’t going to cut it. The singer followed up on Instagram Live Monday night, further addressing the TinyChat clips that resurfaced this weekend. She starts off by acknowledging that her apology was an “edited piece” that her team worked on. Now we’re hearing it straight from the cow’s mouth. Rambling through a laundry list of scandals, Doja Cat explained that her many of her controversial comments, like those about her hair or her song “Dindu Nuffin,” came out of self-hate and retaliation against those who were offending her. “The song, however, I agree, may be the worst song in the entire world,” she said. “Not good.” She also clarified that the song is “in zero ways connected to police brutality or Sandra Bland,” a popular theory on Twitter, and that she wrote it the same day the slur was used against her in the chatroom. While she denies hanging out in racist chatrooms, she admits there were racists, but that she couldn’t do anything about it. “The narrative that it’s a white supremacist chat is completely incorrect,” she said, adding that there’s racism on every social-media platform. And, finally, down to the Slave Play of it all: “I am in no way into race play.”
Doja Cat had a few more controversies to address in her Instagram Live, including the backlash she’s been getting from trolls about not showing her boobs in celebration of her Billboard No. 1. “My behavior isn’t something that always needs to be followed, I’m not perfect,” she wrapped up the Live. “At the end of the day, I shouldn’t be doing dumb shit. But also I need to stand up for myself.” While some fans have already forgiven her, others won’t be purchasing figurative tickets to the Doja Cat jukebox musical (story by Jeremy O. Harris) anytime soon.