The recent release of two remixes for Tyla’s global hit single “Water,” featuring Travis Scott and Marshmello, has inadvertently sparked a fervent debate around the artist’s racial identity, drawing attention and scrutiny from both black Americans and South Africans.
The discussion centers on Tyla’s identification as a coloured woman, a term that carries historical racial connotations in South Africa. In the United States, the term “coloured” is viewed differently, with some finding it inappropriate due to its historical usage.
Black Americans have been vocal in asserting their right to refer to Tyla as black, emphasizing the significance of the term in their context. The disagreement has ignited a passionate exchange of opinions and perspectives.
South Africans, in defense of Tyla’s self-identification, have expressed discontent with the refusal of some black Americans to acknowledge her as coloured. Local comedian Dillan Oliphant has added his voice to the conversation, criticizing the stance taken by some black Americans. Oliphant emphasized the importance of recognizing Tyla’s self-identified racial background, stating, “You can’t erase a whole identity to suit your comforts.”
Amidst the ongoing discussion, Tyla’s chart performance has experienced a notable boost. “Water” has climbed three places to achieve a new high of #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. The artist herself has not been silent on the matter, announcing the pre-order availability for her upcoming single on December 1. The official title and release date for the single are yet to be disclosed.
The incident underscores the complexities of racial identity and the diverse perspectives that arise from cultural and historical contexts. Tyla’s case reflects the ongoing dialogue around the language of racial identification and the sensitivities associated with terminologies across different regions and communities.