Fans of Beyoncé’s athleisure brand Ivy Park are not happy with the company’s recent Instagram post. The clothing brand recently shared a promotional photo on its social media page that featured two models many are accusing of “Blackfishing.”
The photo, which was posted on Wednesday, Dec. 8, starred two models who go by Alena Biuni and Anastasia 1102 on Instagram, respectively, sporting attire from the second installment of Ivy Park’s relaunch. The second capsule launched in late October and quickly sold out across stores and online shops.
At first, both women appeared to look like fair-skinned Black women, but fans of the famous brand quickly pointed out that they were Russian women posing as Black women and flooded the comments section expressing their displeasure about the photo. Fans deemed the two models to be “Blackfishing,” a term used to label the phenomenon of white women using tanning and makeup to appear to have some type of Black African ancestry.
Alena was spotted wearing a green two-piece bra and shorts. Her hair was styled in waist-length cornrows. Meanwhile, Anastasia sported a similar outfit but in black, and she sported a big curly black Afro.
The models responded to the backlash they received for their pictures. On her personal page, written in her native langue, Instagram translations showed Alena as expressing that while at first she was happy to see that her photo with Anastasia1102 had made it onto the official site, she quickly became “terrified” after reading the comments. She also expressed that she didn’t “understand what’s wrong with being fascinated by this culture, their style, music and dancing since childhood.”
Alena later asked if wearing traditional Russian clothing would have been the better option. She continued, “Would you forbid me to listen to hip hop. Wear flat jean and go to the solarium?” At one point the model even admits to her Russian background.
“Yes, yes, that I’m too tanned too insulting them Comooooon, guys in the world are not only ‘black’ and ‘white,’ there are also southern girls with gypsy and Caucasian roots,” she wrote. “And yes, we are darker than most Russians. Well now it’s cramping yourself SPF + 100 so no dark skinned woman get upset?! Why don’t I feel that wild disrespect and discrimination when you wear wigs that are made of white women and Asian women hair? Or when you use things in your life that non-African Americans invented: maybe because it’s nonsense and absurd?” Alena finishes by saying she sees “nothing wrong with being inspired and using the legacy of other races,” claiming that there are other more pressing matters in the world.
Instagram translations from Russian showed that Anastasia wrote in her own Instagram post that “For all who bears the name of a person, the issue is resolved from age and forever: No Jew, Finn, African, Greek—There is only a MAN!” She added, “Let’s discharge a littler environment with tolerant poems.”
The models’ approach to the criticism infuriated Ivy Park fans even further. One user wrote, “To whoever runs this account, I’m not sure if you’ve checked these two models page but not only only they blackfishing, pretending to present as black women when they’re white women, but they have also doubled down on their racism towards black women.” They added, “Both of their most recent posts are spewed with racism towards black women, and I can’t imagine that as a brand owned by a black women that you would want these people to be associated with the brand or represented on your page. Please do your part by protecting black women by removing this post from your page and issuing a statement.”
Several other people demanded to know when the post would be removed, considering how insensitive they deemed it to be to the brand’s supporters. Beyoncé nor Ivy Park has addressed the issue. As of late, the post is still on the page, gaining more comments from disappointed fans.