Black Twitter giveth power and takes it away. This large virtual community can enable us to build connections with people we haven't met in person — including anonymous accounts such as the social media persona known as “emoblackthot.”
The account which was allegedly owned by a bisexual Black woman named Nicole amassed a following of over 150,000 followers through tweets that included self-care advice and skincare tips. ‘Nicole’ also brought a spotlight to artists on the rise like Megan Thee Stallion, even warranting attention from the rapper, herself, as well as celebrities like Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X. But in a wild twist you’d expect on a Catfish episode, 23-year-old Isaiah Hickland revealed himself to be the creator of the account via a Paper magazine profile yesterday.
"I fucked up and I lied, and I'm extremely sorry for it, but I want to take accountability for it and, hopefully, people will forgive me for that," he tells the outlet. "But, if not, I get it. All the good, all the creatives I've helped, the GoFundMes I've boosted, to me, it means nothing [to me] because I lied. All that good is outweighed by the fact I'm hiding behind a facade."
Hickland goes on to remorsefully say that he could have handled the situation better. “But it's also my fault. I could've [handled this whole thing] better. I had good intentions, but I still hid behind an anonymous identity and hid who I was — I feel like I fucked up majorly."
The profile includes a link to a YouTube video, titled “The Reveal / My Story,” which was posted by Hickland himself. In the video, he explains how “emoblackthot” was created and confessed that he was face behind the mask.
In light of Hickland’s confession, “emoblackthot” followers — most of whom are a part of Black Twitter — expressed feeling deceived and exploited. Hickland used his influence and deceit to connect with people in a way that allowed them to crowdfund under his identity of “Nicole.” In the past, the account also tweeted about experiencing the pains of a menstrual cycle.
Some users have noted that they assumed Hickland was a man all along based on assumptions of his gender through his tweets. Yet others within the transgender and non-binary community say that this type of assumption can have a damaging effect on their community, as it can lead to transphobic tropes when assuming someone is a gender they state that they’re not online (despite that being exactly what Hickland did).
Another harmful implication to Hickland cosplaying a Black woman is that it can play into ignorant assumptions that transgender women too are engaging in a form of trickery, which was expressed by a number of transphobic Twitter users.
“What’s the difference between emoblackthot, EBT pretending to be a Woman and Trans Women pretending to be Women? They are all MALES slithering their way into feminist spaces. Stop letting Males into Feminists spaces. Let them build their own spaces…,” a user by the name of @invisiblewomyn claims.
“I don’t understand how someone creates an entire online persona, lies about it, says they lied, then gets a glowing profile story,” activist DeRay Mckesson tweeted. “We are in the end of times.”
Since Hickland’s revelation, followers of “emoblackthot” have stated that they shared nudes with Hickland in a group chat in which they assumed Hickland was also a woman.
“Idk how I feel about [emoblackthot] being in a [group chat] with women who shared nudes. And getting nudes from women because women thought he was a black woman,” one user says. “And To be in so many intimate spaces where black women shared? No”.
Hickland responded to the backlash in a since deleted tweet.
“To black women: i want to sincerely apologize,” he wrote.”The intention of my actions doesn’t matter, the impact & how they make you feel does. i take full accountability for my actions and i’m sorry.”
Hickland says in the video that he is taking a social media break until Sunday and the emoblackthot Twitter account has since been deleted.