- Kristen Leanne, an influencer and beauty-brand owner, attended the American Influencer Awards in Hollywood, California, on Monday.
- While there, she filmed herself singing a song lyric that contains the n-word while watching Saweetie perform.
- Leanne has issued an apology on Instagram and Twitter, though many people think her words are not enough — especially because she’s faced allegations of racism in the past.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Beauty influencer Kristen Leanne has apologized for singing a song lyric that contains the n-word.
Leanne is popular on Instagram and YouTube, where she creates beauty-related content for more than one million followers combined. She’s also the owner of a hair-color company called Arctic Fox. On Monday, she attended the American Influencer Awards in Hollywood, California, where she filmed herself singing the n-word while watching Saweetie perform.
Now, people are criticizing the YouTuber for her actions, arguing that her apology doesn’t cut it.
Kristen Leanne filmed herself singing along to Saweetie, and later apologized for using the n-word while doing so
Leanne attended the 2019 American Influencer Awards on Monday, where she was nominated for the Product-Review Influencer of the Year category. Though she didn’t win, she did appear on the red carpet, and later filmed herself singing along to “My Type” when rapper Saweetie performed.
Leanne posted the clip on her Instagram story that night, though it disappeared after 24 hours. It has, however, been reposted by critics on Twitter.
—BeautyBodyPearl (@BeautyBodyPearl) November 20, 2019
Leanne addressed her use of the n-word on Instagram the following day.
“Hey guys, I’m currently at the airport getting to another flight and it’s super, super loud in here, so I can’t really address this the way that I’d like to verbally and heart-to-heart with you guys,” Leanne said on her Instagram story. “I have seen your comments and I’m going to address them in the next slide right here.”
“I don’t wanna disturb anybody at the airport and I’m gonna get on a flight in a second, but I just want to thank you in advance for reading what I have to say, and yeah, sorry I’m at the airport,” she continued. “It’s really bad timing but I appreciate your comments and bringing it to my attention.”
She then posted a written apology on both Instagram and Twitter, again noting that she would have responded earlier if she wasn’t on a flight.
“I could make excuses for myself but there’s no room for that,” Leanne wrote. “I see your comments, and I do not take this lightly. I’m deeply sorry. I could say I was hyped up, singing along to a song. I could say I was tipsy and in the moment, but that’s just unnecessary excuses.”
“I’ve got to do better and know better,” she continued. “I am appreciative of being held accountable. I feel terrible. You have my word I will do better and not let it happen again.”
“I realize I have a giant platform that’s been given to me and it’s so important to be a good role model,” Leanne said. “Which is why this is upsetting to so many, (understandably so) including myself. I am with you, I am so disappointed in myself.”
—Kristen Leanne (@KristenxLeanne) November 20, 2019
People were quick to criticize the influencer’s actions and apology
Almost immediately after the video was reshared online, many took to social media to criticize Leanne’s actions. And when she shared her apology the next day, backlash continued.
—BeautyBodyPearl (@BeautyBodyPearl) November 20, 2019
—Tanesha (@sherrilltan86) November 20, 2019
—x (@LlTERALBITCH) November 20, 2019
—Miranda Tiller (@mw_MrsTiller) November 21, 2019
—Meg Fisher (@kingfishermeg) November 20, 2019
Leanne has a history of making racist remarks and actions
In February 2018, Leanne was heavily criticized after complaining that Huda Beauty created a highlighter palette that caters to people with dark skin tones.
“Literally the top three people (arm swatches) couldn’t use any of these shades as a highlight,” Leanne previously wrote on Twitter.
She then added: “It IS helpful. But you’d hope with that many pans they’d make one light enough for lighter skin tones.”
Leanne didn’t apologize at the time, but instead used Twitter to imply her previous tweets were “misunderstood.”
—Kristen Leanne (@KristenxLeanne) February 10, 2018
Leanne has also faced backlash in response to some of her tattoos. In particular, people believe the portrait of a Native American person on her leg, and a can of beans on her other leg, are both racist. She discussed the tattoos in a 2015 YouTube video titled “Tattoo Tour!“
“This is an Indian tattoo,” Leanne previously said in her video. “Actually, my ex-boyfriend who had been working on my pin-up girl there actually did this one once we had broken up. I just love his work and it’s nice and traditional.”
“I was like, ‘Hm, I want a tattoo, but I don’t know what to get. Well, I am a fourth Blackfoot Indian, so why not get a Blackfoot Indian tattoo,” she continued.
Leanne also described the bean-related tattoo she has on her left leg as being “like a friendship bracelet.”
“The friend Dave that I share this tattoo with is actually Mexican,” Leanne previously said. “So we were like, ‘What do we wanna put on our leg? I don’t know.’ And I was like, ‘I love beans and you’re Mexican and I call you a beaner all the time, so let’s just get a can of beans.'”
NBC previously reported that the word beaner is the “worst slur” aimed at Mexican-Americans. Its “use as an epithet” is “not entirely clear,” according to the publication, though the word continues to be used in derogatory ways. In 2018, for example, a man said a Starbucks employee used the word in place of his name on a drink he’d ordered.
Some people on Twitter are now pointing to Leanne’s tattoos and past actions in light of her recent video.
—kan 🌩️ (@magickaura) November 20, 2019
—mcr is back (@CYBERBABlE) November 20, 2019
Many people agree that white people should never sing the n-word
Leanne is far from the first person to sing along to a song that uses the n-word. In October, for example, actress Gina Rodriguez sang along to “Ready or Not” by the Fugees, including a lyric that contains the n-word, on Instagram.
Rodriguez received much criticism before uploading a video of herself apologizing, saying: “I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to the Fugees, to a song that I grew up on. I love Lauryn Hill.” The video resulted in more backlash, leading the actress to share another, longer apology.
Instances like the ones shown in Leanne’s and Rodriguez’s respective videos have sparked black musicians to speak out against white people singing the n-word. In May 2018, Kendrick Lamar did just that after a white woman used the slur while performing on stage with him.
“You gotta bleep one single word,” Lamar said to the fan at the time, according to BBC.
YouTuber Jackie Aina also created a demonstration on Instagram for people to learn how to sing along to songs that use the n-word without ever actually saying the slur.
—yo momma (@JayAvenelle) March 31, 2019
Similar videos have also been shared by Twitter users.
—d☁️ (@dazhaun_) October 17, 2019
Representatives for Kristen Leanne did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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