Popular makeup YouTuber Aaliyah Jay is under fire this week after posting a YouTube video where she made offensive comments after trying Nigerian food.
Aaliyah, whose real name is Joy, along with her boyfriend Menelik decided to jump on the ‘mukbang’ TikTok trend of trying ‘exotic’ food from different African countries. They took to the platform to post the controversial video with the title, Fufu, Egusi & Okra Mukbang | Our first time eating Nigerian food! *Got Spicy*.
The video starts off calmly with Menelik trying the popular Nigerian dish fufu (made from boiled and pounded starchy yams, plantains, or cassava). Menelik tries a handful and then dramatically spits it out off-camera because “he can’t swallow it.” As the video goes on, the couple seemingly becomes more disrespectful as they try different dishes, pretending to vomit while looking disgusted at the smell. At one point, they even go as far as to say the meals would “stink up the crib” and refer to it as “dog food” while offensively lumping everything together as “African food” rather than differentiating between its origin. Menelik, who is of Kenyan ethnicity, even called himself a “disgrace to Africa” after trying and obviously disliking the various Nigerian meals.
It didn’t take long for the video to pick up steam on YouTube with many viewers calling Aaliyah Jay’s boyfriend a “self-hating African with an insecurity complex.” Others expressed their discontent with the challenge overall, disgusted at the fact that African food is even being treated as “entertainment” on social media channels in America. Eventually, the video made it over to Twitter where the backlash took an even darker turn as many users unapologetically expressed their dislike for the offensive video.
One Twitter user tweeted, “so Aaliyah Jay and her man called Nigerian Food dog food, asked if ‘Africans eat shrimp’, edited, watched back the video and still uploaded it. Okay.” While another called Aaliyah out on her anti-Blackness, writing, “@AaliyahJay This is rather disappointing coming from african americans. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions but how can you watch and edit this and think it’s okay? “Do Africans eat shrimp?” and calling it “dog food” is very ignorant and disrespectful.” The multiple comments caused the beauty vlogger to become a trending topic on the social platform, with thousands of users discussing their disappointment in the obscene video.
Aaliyah addressed the controversy via Twitter, taking responsibility for the offensive video.
We hope this situation serves as a learning experience for both Aaliyah Jay and her boyfriend as no part of anyone’s culture should be disrespected, especially for social media likes.