Viewers were quick to notice that the normally naturally fair-skinned 31-year-old, who also usually sports light-blonde hair, looked darker from head to toe. She was also wearing long, straight black hair.
Viewers took to social media to voice their displeasure at Azalea’s new look.
It all started with a tweet from the clothing brand Boohoo, who shared images of Azalea from her new music video alongside the caption, “Iggy Azalea is serving #iamthestripclub”
One Twitter user clapped back, saying, “Serving what? Appropriation and brown face?”
Another Twitter user wrote, “Blackfish. That’s what she’s serving.”
‘Blackfishing’ is a term that refers to the act of someone who is not a person of colour (POC) attempting to act or look like a person of Black or Arab descent.
This is largely entwined with the concept fake tanning — and general tanning methods in order to look darker — and its wider social and cultural implications, often which encourage a double-standard for POC versus those that are not.
Namely, that darker skin is something that non-POC can wear as a beauty trend, and take off when it suits them, without having to experience the trauma that POC have to live through as a result of racism based on the colour of their skin.
Of Azalea, one Twitter user wrote, “But it just so happens she’s imitating a black female aesthetic surrounded by a bunch of black people in the background.”
Another Twitter user highlighted the messages of Azalea’s music and their correspondence with her features, saying, “This is a bit rough. Not saying she can’t dye her hair, not saying she can’t tan, but it just feels wrong…
“She sings ‘I’m so fancy’ with blonde hair and light skin and then gets dark hair and darker skin to sing ‘I am the strip club’. Idk. I don’t like it…”
Azalea’s fans quickly defended the ‘Fancy’ singer from the backlash, many of which began to claim that the “lighting” is to blame for Azalea’s darker features.
One fan on Twitter said Azalea has “gotten darker” over the years from “tanning and all that stuff” but the images in the video were “edited and lighting changed.”
Another fan posted photos from the video on Twitter where Azalea’s skin is noticeably lighter, saying, “just an FYI these photos are without the colour correcting of the music video.”
Azalea herself responded to the criticism, where she said the accusations of blackfishing are “ridiculous and baseless” and that in the video, she used the same foundation shade she has been using for the past three years.
“I don’t care… f–k those ppl babe lol,” the rapper tweeted in response to a fan asking her on Twitter to “clear up” the “lie” that Azalea was blackfishing.
“I mean anyone online trying to reach and create an issue because I wore a black wig. Don’t even start,” she wrote in the same Twitter thread.
Azalea continued, “I’m the same color as I always am, just in a dimly lit room with red lights. It’s the same makeup from every other part of the video just with a Smokey eye and different wig. Just ignore them, who cares? Let em talk.”
She later tweeted, “I can’t care about something that ridiculous and baseless. I’m wearing a shade 6 in armarni foundation, it’s the same shade I’ve worn for the last 3 years.
“It’s the same shade in every music video since Sally Walker. Suddenly I wear a black wig in a club scene & its an issue.”
Azalea, who was born in Sydney to a family The Daily Beast claims is white, with an Irish-Australian father and white Australian mother, was accused of “cultural crimes” by the same publication in 2017.
In 2011, she told Complex that, “My family came to Australia on the first fleet. My family’s been in that country for a long time, over 100 years.
“If your family’s lived in Australia for a long time, everyone has a little bit of [Aborigine blood]. I know my family does because we have an eye condition that only Aborigine people have.”