This Instagram Star Is Accused of Appropriating Black Culture

Cindy Arboleda
Instagram star Jaiden Gumbayan is accused of blackface and cultural appropriation. (Photo: Instagram/Jaidengumby)

Jaiden Gumbayan is causing controversy on social media for posting pictures of herself in what many are calling blackface.

The Florida-based vlogger has shared photos of herself with dramatically darker skin and donning what appears to be a curly wig. Although Gumbayan is known for constantly changing her look, her followers say that with her latest ensemble she is appropriating black culture by trying to look like a black woman.


In a recent series of photos, Gumbayan is sporting olive green and red velvet bathing suits with an extremely dark tan and hair extensions. She captioned the image, “I love these photos because they aren’t airbrushed or edited in any way to alter my body or appearance.”

But Gumbayan’s followers did not let that slide. One commented, “No tan is gonna get you that dark. Can’t believe the audacity you have. Being black isn’t a costume that you get to put on whenever you want.”


For reference, this is what Gumbayan looks like au naturale.

Cultural appropriation claims have been haunting Gumbayan for a while now due to her penchant for box braids and body bronzer.


Gumbayan is not alone when it comes to appropriation backlash. The Kardashian-Jenner sisters have been called out for their appropriation of black culture, having worn Bantu knots and cornrows then being praised for making these styles trendy. It’s likely safe to say that Gumbayan has some Jenner influence in her own ‘gram choices.


Reginald Daniel, the author of More Than Black? Multiracial Identity and the New Racial Orderexplained to Yahoo Style in a previous interview what the problem is with using deep tans and traditionally black styles: “In doing so, they are trivializing the whole black experience,” he said. “‘Are you wearing this to the next job interview?’ Because there’s a luxury to having black skin with the detachment from a lifetime of having to face the backlash and challenges of being born that way. It minimizes the experiences of people who have to face the reality of looking like that for their whole life.”

One particularly angry commenter summed up what many of Gumbayan’s followers seem to be thinking and feeling. “You should give me some of your privilege. I wish I could ‘change’ my race in 2 seconds then go back to being white. Sit down, you don’t understand how hard it is being black. Just because your wear box braids, cornrows and etc., doesn’t automatically make you black. You either born black with melanin popping skin or you’re not,” she wrote.

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