British songstress Rita Ora has recently come under fire online after fans discovered that her parents are “white Albanians,” as written in a now-viral tweet. Some people on social media have accused the singer of “blackfishing” and “cultural appropriation” alongside photos of the 29-year-old wearing her hair in box braids, cornrows and an afro.

“Finding out Rita Ora isn’t Black at all and both of her parents are white Albanians is so trippy. The girls BEEN blackfishing,” the Twitter user wrote in a post that now has over 22,000 retweets. They continued, “Like the girl isn’t Black in the slightest this is kinda freaking me out.”

According to an interview she did in 2019, Rita’s family is originally from Kosovo, an independent nation in the Balkans. They fled to United Kingdom when she was 1 years old. Similarly in 2016, she also talked about her heritage on a talk show. After Rita was told, “I thought you were half-Black and half-white, or something like that,” she replied with, “Everybody usually does. I might as well be. But no, I’m Albanian.”

“Rita Ora really passed herself off as a mixed race/racially ambiguous woman so well that I’m genuinely struggling to see her for the fully white Albanian woman that she is because I was believing for way too long that she wasn’t 100% white,” another person wrote on Twitter. British TV writer Camilla Blackett also claimed that she was, “absolutely selling herself as black in the U.K. for YEARS.”

Others have claimed that Rita was marketed this way by her music label.

“To be fair, Rita Ora was marketed in a manner to be ambiguous and appealing to a variety of markets. Also her initial appeal was Rihanna-lite,” someone added. Another person wrote, “How is it blackfishing when someone mistakes you for being ‘mixed’ cause you have ‘ambiguous’ features though. Rita Ora didn’t used fake tans or lip fillers so claimed to be mixed. The only issue is that she wore braids in some occasions in the past.”

The “Let You Love Me” singer has not publicly responded to these claims. J-14‘s has reached out to Rita Ora’s team for comment.

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