TylaTyla racial controversy-Image Source@Instagram

During a recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, renowned South African singer Tyla found herself embroiled in a debate over her racial identity. The 22-year-old, who has previously identified as “Coloured,” was asked to elaborate on the term, resulting in a somewhat uncomfortable exchange.

Public Statement on Twitter

In response to the controversy, Tyla took to Twitter to clarify her background. She detailed her mixed heritage, mentioning Zulu, Mauritian, Indian, and Irish roots. In South Africa, Tyla is categorized as “Coloured,” a classification from the apartheid era meant to distinguish between Black and white people.

“Never denied my Blackness, idk where that came from,” Tyla tweeted. “I’m mixed with Black/Zulu, Irish, Mauritian/Indian, and Coloured. In Southa I would be classified as a Coloured woman and other places I would be classified as a Black woman. Race is classified differently in different parts of the world.”

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Tyla
Tyla-Image Source@zoomsouthafrica

Understanding “Coloured” in South Africa

In the United States, the term “colored” (without the “u”) is outdated and considered offensive when referring to Black people, leading to confusion. However, in South Africa, “Coloured” is a specific social category that originated during the apartheid era (1950-1991) to differentiate between Black and white populations.

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Tyla’s Perspective on Her Racial Identity

Tyla’s identification as “Coloured” has sparked debate, especially among American audiences unfamiliar with South Africa’s racial classifications. Tyla has previously addressed this, emphasizing that her mixed heritage and her identity in her homeland do not exclude her from being Black.

“When people are like, ‘You’re denying your Blackness,’ it’s not that at all. I never said I am not Black. It’s just that I grew up as a South African knowing myself as Coloured. And now that I’m exposed to more things, it has made me other things too. I’m also mixed-race. I’m also Black. I know people like finding a definition for things, but it’s ‘and,’ not ‘or.’”

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