Things kicked off on TikTok on Wednesday night when US content creator Simone Umba made a video on South African artist Tyla, real name Tyla Laura Seethal, that was promoted on Spotify’s R&B charts.
Her comments soon blew up with someone noting Tyla was coloured.
According to Umba, the term, when used in America, is a “dog whistle.” She then went on to ”school“ South Africans, saying, ”Coloured is what they called Black people before they got rights in this country.“
Umba then claimed that Tyla is multi-racial, a term that they use in the US. “You saying she’s coloured, not black. Baby, that’s why everybody eating you up right now.”
@simplysimone Replying to @Bridgette Bester ♬ original sound – Simone Umba
The lifestyle and pop culture vlogger’s response didn’t go down well, especially with South Africans, who thought Umba came across as being arrogant.
“It’s the confidence and the laugh at the end for me,” commented one Mzansi user.
Another said: “my fyp is just filled with stitches of this 😂 You bring a whole new meaning to ‘I’ll die on this hill’.”
Umba’s video may have unsettled the masses, but it restarted an important conversation on apartheid and the history of people who identify as coloured in South Africa.
Fellow TikToker Khumo Markham brought a nuanced approach to the conversation by doing a deep dive into the term with their balanced views.
@khumomarkham_ What are thoughts on the discourse? #colouredpeople #sahistory #ushistory #black #fyp ♬ original sound – Khumo Markham
After being dragged for her ignorance, Umba did a follow-up video which was supposedly an apology. It didn’t come across as that. Instead, she gave her followers a lesson on Black American history.
@simplysimone Replying to @Makhosazana Zitha❤️🔥 ♬ original sound – Simone Umba
You can imagine the TikTok stitches that resulted from this, including one from @starring_jacquijax who asked outright, “America, is ignorance a subject in your schools?”
@starring_jacquijax #stitch with @Simone Umba I AM GENUINELY CONCERNED 🤔 #starring_jacquijax #educationiselevation #levelupssa #levelupsa #tyla #tylawater #coloured #colouredpeople ♬ original sound – Queen Latifah Jr