“This trend is giving me GET OUT vibes,” one social media user wrote in response to TikTok’s eyebrow-raising “Boyfriend Haul Trend.” The new fad currently exploding across the short-form video app is stirring up some controversy for people online. Since early July, TikTok users have been uploading videos in which they show off their significant others while reviewing them as if they are a product. In the videos, social media goers describe their boyfriend’s physical attributes and personality. They also playfully poke fun at their partner’s “specifications.”
But some interracial couples partaking in the trend have been accused of making insensitive racial commentary in their videos.
One female TikToker named Zareefa Arije (@Zaraaarjie )was slammed with criticism after she posted a “boyfriend haul” in which she referred to her Black partner as “purebred.”
“So this is purebred Nigerian from the motherland, I don’t like to crossbreed. We got the full Nigerian here,” she jokingly explained in the video while describing her husband’s nationality. However, some users took offense to the term, noting how the word directly descends from slave verbiage commonly used during slave auctions at the height of the Trans Atlantic Slave trade.
“Sounds like an auction…,” one user wrote in response to the post.
“She doesn’t like to cross-breed?? Are we animals??” another user asked.
While a third person expressed concern for Arije’s husband who looked clueless while filming the video. ” I feel so bad for him … you can hear him say “I’m confused. what we’re doing here…” then his eyes change & he slaps his face when it click,” they added.
Some users defended Arije stating that the seemingly innocent video was a “joke.”
Arije apologizes for the video
After backlash spilled across social media, Arije released a statement apologizing for her culturally insensitive remarks.
“I’m so disappointed in myself for not being educated enough on slave trading and slave auctions and slave breeding,” she said in the four-and-a-half-minute clip. “It was never, never my intention to make fun of or make that situation so lighthearted….”
Another TikTok user named @haiandcrew, who identifies as Hailey in her profile, caught flack for calling her Black boyfriend “a good investment.”
Other users stir up controversy
In the viral video, the white female influencer explains how she and her boyfriend met in 2014 when he was “not on the market,” but two years later she “purchased” him when “he became available.” In the video, Hailey’s boyfriend can be seen grinning and smiling as he stands shirtless, happily playing along with the fun trend.
Naturally, social media goers went in on the TikTok star for offensive commentary including one user who wrote:
“INVESTMENT??? on da market???? and PURCHASED?? “THIS ONE” all crazy.”
Hailey, who touts more than 300,000 followers on the platform, has not released a comment addressing the backlash.
Jokes are all good in the fun but it’s important to be careful about some of the historical links and emotional wounds that can be stirred from participating in this internet fad. While slavery no longer exists, its shadowy legacy still remains across society, affecting Black people in all areas of life. Handle with care when participating in this fad.
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