After days of silence, musician Doja Cat has finally issued an apology for what can only be summed up as a racially controversial past.
The singer, whose real name is Amala Zandile Dlamini, trended over the weekend after screenshots and videos of a number of old social media posts resurfaced. She was subsequently labelled racist for using racial slurs in alleged alt-right chatgroups on platforms such as Tinychat.
She also once released a now-deleted track titled “Dindu Nuffin” (a play on the phrase “Didn’t Do Nothing”).
According to Urban Dictionary, Dindu is “an underhanded term for nigger”.
The word reportedly originated late 20th-century America, and later gained popularity in early 21st-century Europe. The word is taken from English slang for “Didn’t Do Nothing” which sounds like Dindu Nuffin if one struggles to pronounce the phoneme “th” in “nothing” or the “t” of the English contradiction of Didn’t of “Did Not.”
Urban Dictionary states that the term is commonly used by poorer Americans, notably when met by figures of authority.
“The term gained popularity after many images of black American encounters with law enforcement and is now used to mock black Americans who have police encounters.”
Doja Cat is also alleged to have once tweeted that “being black would make any sensible person depressed” and that being white would make so much more sense.
Taking to Instagram, the musician prefaced her statement by saying that she would like to address what is happening on Twitter, before adding: “I’ve used public chat rooms to socialise since I was a child. I shouldn’t have been on some of those chatroom sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone I offended.”
“I’m a black woman. Half of my family is black from South Africa and I’m very proud of where I come from,” said Doja Cat in reference to her father Dumisani Dlamini.
Dlamini is an actor, composer, choreographer and producer best known for his role as Crocodile in the 1992 musical film Sarafina!. He as also played iconic roles such as Chester on Yizo Yizo and Mbodla in Isibaya.
Despite being related, Dlamini and Doja Cat have never met.
After the Sarafina! tour wrapped up in the early 90s, Dlamini reportedly decided to stay in America where he fell in love with a Jewish-American woman named Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer and the couple lived together for 15 years. The pair went on to have two children.
In a past interview, the actor said he returned to South Africa after years of feeling homesick. He initially had the intention of bringing his “American family” to South Africa at a later stage, but things didn’t go according to plan.
Dlamini is said to have seven children in total.
Back to Doja Cat’s apology, she directly addressed the controversy over Dindu Nuffin, stating: “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 recognise that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music.
“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,” concluded the musician.