Bhad Bhabie's meteoric career has been accompanied by accusations of cultural appropriation. These accusations came to a head when a picture surfaced in which the rapper appeared to be applying makeup to her skin so she'd look darker. After facing a wave of backlash, Bhabie hosted an Instagram Live session where she addressed these allegations.
In a clip that recorded a portion of her livestream, Bhabie explained that her mannerisms and interests are shaped by where she grew up. She likened this experience to Tarzan's fictional upbringing in the jungle.
"Y'all say that I try to be black," said Danielle Bregoli at the clip's 3:30 minute mark. "Maybe the reason for that is because I grew up in the hood. Tarzan...he grew up around the bears in the jungle. He didn't know no better! ... That's all he knows! When someone grows up in a certain area or a certain place, they're a part of their environment."
There are a lot of flaws in this comparison. But the fact Bhabie likened herself to Tarzan while also ignoring the historically racist comparison between black people and monkeys/apes didn't sit well with viewers.
She furthered the notion of being a product of her environment when addressing past videos of her saying "n***a." According to Bhad Bhabie, she didn't "know no better" and everyone in her native Boynton Beach, Florida says the word as a term of endearment. The 17-year-old does claim to have grown out of the mindset as the videos were recorded when she around 13.
Bhabie didn't stop there. During the Live session, the rapper tried to showcase a double-standard with the criticism she's receiving by attaching the conversation to Lil Kim.
"I used darker foundation," she said. "Lil Kim uses foundation that—no disrespect toward Lil Kim. I’m actually a fan of hers. No disrespect to her—but the girl wears foundation that’s too light for her face. The girl went and got a nose job to have a smaller nose like white people. Like y’all don’t see that? But I’m saying she literally got surgery to make herself look like a white person. She’s wearing makeup that’s light and y’all don’t say a goddamn word about her."
She ended her piece about Lil Kim by questioning who would want to be black. Bhabie went on to state that people claiming that she "wants to be black" is hurting her career.
"I'm a great fucking artist," Bhabie said. "And no one gives my shit a chance because of stupid ass, ignorant ass people like y'all on the internet over here making shit go viral that I want to be black."
Lil Kim caught wind of Bhabie comments. The Queen B took to her own Instagram Stories, where she wondered how she became a topic of discussion during a global pandemic.
"That Lil Kim hate is different," Kim wrote before vowing to address Bhad Bhabie's comments. "There's more important things going on in the world right now. But you better believe when this is all over ima put a date on and address it and seal it with a kiss."