In Brief

Is The X Factor's Honey G a 'modern-day blackface'?

Guardian writer takes offence at white female rapper for 'demeaning black culture'

This year's The X Factor contestant Honey G sparked controversy when she was given a place on the live shows despite her questionable vocal talents, Now her act is causing a more serious debate.

The rapper, who performed a rendition of Tupac's California on last Saturday's show, has been accused of cultural appropriation.

Columnist Lola Okolosie, writing in The Guardian, says Honey G is a "modern-day blackface" and viewers who vote for her are "playing a role in demeaning black culture".

The rapper's "tinfoil gold tracksuit, shades and florid hand gestures betray what the whole act is about: a caricature of blackness as stupid and illicit", she adds. 

She acknowledges this might not have been the intention, but claims it is "certainly the subtext of her affectations".

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"In all the coverage and reaction to this woman's representation of blackness, there was no comment on how reductive her caricature is. Apparently Honey G is just funny and nothing else. Wrong," she says.

Okolosie's views were echoed by others on Twitter, but many defended the rapper and say the act is self-deprecating rather than demeaning to others. Even Snoop Dogg is said to be a fan.

But Joel Golby at Vice also wonders whether Honey G, who is believed to be a 35-year-old recruitment-firm manager called Anna Gilford in real life, is "problematic".

He says: "She's definitely ticking a lot of boxes on The List of Things That Just Feel Somehow As Though They're Wrong.

"I don't know: I just feel like the end of the Honey G story is her, sat sombrely on the Good Morning Britain sofa, solemnly taking her reflective shades off and fixing the camera with two pink-lidded pinprick eyes, and saying, When I say Sorry, you say For The Racism."

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