Swedish model accused of ‘posing as black’
A Swedish Instagram model is facing controversy after followers accused her of pretending to be black, calling her out for cultural appropriation.
Emma Hallberg, 19, is known for uploading selfies and makeup tips for her 200,000 Instagram followers. But some social media users were shocked when they found out that Hallberg, who currently has a bronze complexion, is white.
"I honestly thought Emma [Hallberg] was half black lol," another Twitter user commented.
Other people started to recirculate a photo on Twitter of Hallberg with a noticeably lighter skin tone. Some accused her of "blackfishing," or pretending to be black to get more attention.
"If her skin colour changed between seasons I don't think her skin colour would be the same for every season as you can see on her Instagram," wrote one online user. "The girl was clearly posing as black, as she's posted by many black pages."
Hallberg has been featured on Instagram pages showcasing black models, according to Buzzfeed, but she never asked the accounts to take down posts - most of which have now been deleted.
Hallberg has since turned off comments on her social media accounts, as some users discussed whether or not her pictures are considered blackface.
After the backlash, the model defended herself to Buzzfeed, saying she's never used any self-tanners or spray tans and never "claimed or tried to be black or anything else."
"I do not see myself as anything else than white," she said. "I get a deep tan naturally from the sun."
She also referenced a selfie from 2017 and told Buzzfeed that she has the "same tan" she has now.
"The only difference is that I didn't post as many pictures that summer compared to this summer, because I didn't have as many followers then as I do now," she said.
Twitter user Wanna Thompson, 27, told Buzzfeed that Hallberg should be "transparent about her look."
"Nobody is saying you can't get a tan or modify your appearance but she was intentionally ignoring the comments from black women specifically who genuinely wanted honest dialogue," Thompson, who's from Toronto, told Buzzfeed.
Some people, however, came to the model's defence.
"My lord! Who cares! Like seriously … if she wants to be green, let her," wrote Osha Toni Payne. "There are bigger issues in this country, I reckon."
She's not the only Instagram influencer who's been accused of appropriating black culture. In June 2017, Kim Kardashian faced controversy when she was accused of darkening her skin in an ad to promote her new beauty line.
She claimed she was just "really tan" when the photo was taken, the New York Times reported, and that "it might be that the contrast was off."
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and is republished with permission.