Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Mass Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Cheryl Jenkins, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Mass Communication and Journalism


Black women often suffer from not receiving recognition for their work. Still, nonblack people continue to use black women’s contributions to pop culture to rebrand themselves. This is especially relevant in the music industry. Cultural appropriation is the act of a dominant group taking cultural elements from a minority group without acknowledging the cultural significance of those elements. The counterpublic Black Twitter gives black Twitter users the space to hold appropriators accountable. I used Grounded Theory to analyze tweets about Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” to explore how Black Twitter responded to Grande allegedly appropriating black women for financial gain. Critical Race Theory helped explain tweets that said Grande has the privilege to use cultural elements, i.e. music styles, slang, and aesthetics, without being scrutinized like a black woman traditionally would. The tweets also communicated that cultural appropriation has evolved to include blackfishing. Black Twitter users conveyed that it’s not enough for black female artists to get songwriting credits. If they choose to be singers, they deserve support from the music industry and resources to ensure high visibility. Additionally, white artists should use their power to uplift black female artists publicly.

Included in

Social Media Commons