A white influencer found herself on the wrong side of a dragging after she posted a line from a Maya Angelou poem without attribution.
Rachel Hollis posted the quote “Still, I RISE” on her Instagram page over the weekend, according to Buzzfeed. As most know, the line comes from Maya Angelou’s famous poem. Hollis’ post did not mention the famous poet, which some felt implied she was attributing the words to herself.
The post caused an uproar on Instagram that eventually traveled to Twitter.
“White female influencers: It’s not that hard to CITE BLACK WOMEN,” tweeted writer Austin Channing Brown. “Yes, in your writing, on your IG, in your pretty lettered quote graphics, on twitter, in your speeches. Stop pretending that our brilliance is your work. I’m too close to the edge to be nice.”
“This is why black women don’t trust white women,” wrote one white woman. “Because we are more concerned about tone policing a black woman’s anger than accountability for a white woman’s plagiarism. Also, this isn’t the first time Rachel Hollis has done this.”
“I’m not saying Rachel Hollis hasn’t struggled, but I’m also saying that Katie Perry’s song Roar was right there,” noted another critic.
“Rachel Hollis literally stole the title of her first book from black women, so yeah,” claimed a detractor.
Hollis eventually deleted the post and apologized. She blamed her team for greenlighting the content.
“This morning I found out that my social team posted a graphic on my Instagram yesterday that said, ‘Still… I Rise,’” the “Girl, Wash Your Face” author wrote on Instagram.
“That is, obviously, an immortal line from a Maya Angelou poem — only, no credit was given to her. I immediately deleted the post but I want to make sure and publicly apologize. While I didn’t create or post the graphic, I am the leader of the team that did and so I accept full responsibility for their actions.”
She also addressed the racial ramifications of the deleted post.
“I can’t imagine how deeply hurtful it is to the African American community to see the words of your heroes used without credit,” Hollis continued. “This has happened to you far too often and I hate — I literally HATE — that anything produced by my company added to your pain.”
Hollis has been accused of plagiarism before. In January 2019, Buzzfeed pointed out six instances when her content was seemed to come from other sources like obscure Tumblr pages and other motivational speakers.