Skip to Content

Six years ago, Danielle Bregoli achieved viral fame for threatening Dr. Phil’s audience, inviting them: “Cash me ousside?”

She used this viral moment to launch a rap career, adopting the moniker of “Bhad Bhabie.”

Last year, she turned 18, and immediately began churning out an endless stream of OnlyFans content.

Unfortunately, she has just debuted a new look. Her remarkably different skin tone and features have led to accusations of blackfishing.

We’re going to rip off that bandage right away. Because this, right here, is a photo of 19-year-old Danielle Bregoli.

Bhad Bhabie is a white teenager, of both Ashkenazi Jewish and Italian descent through her parents.

But in this photo, she is sporting distinctively brown skin. It’s not just a tan — it’s makeup and contouring. Her styling, from her lips to her skin to her eyes, makes her appear to be a Black woman.

Danielle Bregoli
Photo via Instagram

Over her few years of fame, Danielle has sported a number of different hairstyles.

She has very naturally cultivated different aesthetics.

And while we would like to spend as little time as possible discussing a teenager’s body, of course her figure has changed.

Bringing Up Bhabie - Danielle Bregoli reality series

But there is simply no amount of shifting in style or natural changes in one’s body that will make a white woman appear Black.

If Danielle had gone out and gotten tan, well, that would be between her and her dermatologist.

Tanning is a natural function for many people’s bodies. But using brown makeup on white skin, and using contouring to appear Black or “racially ambiguous,” is another matter.

Danielle Bregoli at the Billboard Music Awards
Danielle Bregoli was invited to the Billboard Music Awards for some reason. We truly have no idea why.

Simply put, what Danielle is doing here is called “blackfishing,” a portmanteau of “Black” and “catfishing.”

Blackfishing has been cropping up in recent years among white actors, models, singers, and especially social media influencers.

The phenomenon describes white people cultivating looks that emulate Black features, as well as culture. The causes can be psychological or fashion-related, but often include a desire to appeal to audiences of color.

Danielle Bregoli, Tongue Out in a Car
Memes-turned-rappers love car rides, so be sure to roll down your windows so that they can smell the smells.

Influencers have built up entire careers before their followers realize that they are white.

What makes this so sinister is not simply that they are potentially drawing attention from actual Black people. In the world of social media influencers, that can make or break someone’s career.

The core issue is that a white person who Blackfishes online is wearing another race as a costume. A costume that they can and do take off whenever they like. They cultivate a certain perception on social media, but don’t get the random traffic stops or followed around stores by not-so-subtle employees.

Danielle Bregoli, Harvard Photo
Danielle Bregoli shared this photo, announcing that she’d gotten a full ride to Harvard.

In other words, blackfishing influencers seek to steal Black attention for marketing purposes, but still enjoy the benefits of systemic white supremacy every other moment of their lives.

This is downright sinister. And if someone didn’t “mean” to be exploitative … that’s great, but doesn’t change what they’re doing.

It is obviously disappointing to see Danielle Bregoli doing this. And it’s weird to see Bhlackfishing from Bhad Bhabie, since the entire world knows that she’s a fair-skinned Italian-American.

Danielle Bregoli endorsement with CopyCat Beauty
Danielle Bregoli aka “cash me outside” girl is now the face of CopyCat Beauty and accepted a $900,000 deal.

Unfortunately, Danielle’s history of bad behavior and the celebrity culture of treating earnest feedback like “haters” mean that change is unlikely.

We can already see her superfans in her comments on Instagram, complaining that she’s not harming anyone.

But blackfishing is a form of interpersonal racism. It’s not harmless. And she can and should do better.