Jessi Addresses Allegations About Her “Trying To Look Dark-skinned” In Recent Interview

“The internet always wins.”

K-Pop soloist and rapper Jessi recently appeared as a guest on the Fun With Dumb podcast, hosted by Los Angeles-based rapper and actor Dumbfoundead. During their conversation, Jessi got candid about many “controversial” topics, like celebrities sliding into her DM or handling negative comments on social media.

Jessi | @jessicah_o/Instagram

Jessi is often celebrated as one of the “baddest” soloists in K-Pop for her carefree and bold persona, but she is not immune to criticism. One of the recurrent complaints against the rapper in recent years has been that she indulges in “Blackfishing.”

“Blackfishing,” a term coined by journalist Wanna Thompson in 2018, refers to when a non-Black person attempts to present themselves as racially ambiguous (usually as Black) to profit from it.

Blackfishing is a form of blackface, which is the practice of dressing up as a Black person…Blackfishing occurs when a person deliberately exploits racial ambiguities to profit from Blackness despite not being Black.

— Medical News Today

Jessi has been called out for alleged “Blackfishing” for many reasons, including her accused “Blaccent” (Imitating the ways Black people speak) and using an African American gang name in one of her songs.

But something that gets her the most amount of criticism regarding “Blackfishing” is her skin tone. Jessi is naturally much darker than an average K-Pop idol, and she proudly wears her skin with confidence. But there have been several occasions where people claimed she looked much darker than her natural complexion, intentionally trying to alter her appearance to feign a closeness to being Black.

A now-deleted Instagram post, one of the many instances when Jessi got backlash for attempting to make herself look darker than she really is | @jessicah_o/Instagram

In the Fun With Dumb podcast, the “Nunu Nana” singer openly talked about how she perceives and responds to such criticism. She revealed that she is currently taking things slow to figure out her life, and her attitude towards such comments has changed a lot in recent years.

Jessi mentioned that in 2022, she was out in the sun a lot, and her skin got tanned naturally. But people assumed she was trying to appear dark-skinned and sent her hate online. Jessi recalled the comments, “Everybody was saying, ‘You were trying to be dark-skinned.’

But now that she is not out in the sun and has lost all the tan, she is accused of trying to be “white.” “I’m like, what the hell do you want?” the rapper said, expressing her frustration.

Though the criticism is not new, Jessi’s handling has changed. She realized that these comments mostly came from young people,  and when she responded to them, the accounts would disappear altogether. But she never responded to aggressively fight back. Instead, Jessi said she used to refute these comments with logic.

You can’t attack them, but you gotta say something where they can’t say anything back.

— Jessi

But lately she has grown out of the need to respond at all. It seems like a “waste of time” to Jessi now that she is slowly trying to re-evaluate her life and start a new chapter of her career with her new label, MORE VISION. Though she admitted that this much-needed break hasn’t improved her life dramatically, it has given her the perspective that “The internet always wins. So, it’s like, I can’t win…whatever I do…”

You can watch the full interview here: