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YouTuber calls out brand over 'faux diversity'

SPEAKING OUT: YouTuber Kianna Naomi (Screengrab: Kianna Naomi/YouTube)

A BLACK YouTuber has called out a fashion brand after she said she was made to feel like an "outcast" and "uncomfortable" during a trip to Fiji organised by the company.

Kianna Naomi, 19, travelled to the country in the South Pacific with fashion app company Dote and a group of influencers.

The trip took place last year but Naomi said that she hesitated from sharing publicly how she felt earlier because she didn’t want to be linked to negative stereotypes about black girls.

PICTURED: Kianna Naomi

“I didn’t talk about the way I was treated for a number of reasons,” she said in a video on her YouTube page.

“I didn’t want to be the problematic black girl, and I didn’t want to be labelled as ungrateful because I’m literally in the most beautiful country that there is.”

At the time, Naomi recorded a podcast with her roommate on the trip where they discussed the issues they were experiencing.

In the clip that is included in the recently published vlog, they state that the photographers on the trip did not bother to learn their names, despite learning the names of the white influencers on the trip and they were at one point referred to as “the black girls”.

Naomi also raised the issues with the brand directly.

The vlogger, who has 750,000 subscribers on YouTube, said that she felt like the token black girl and believed the brand had invited her to give the impression of diversity in future social media posts.

Naomi said: “I am undeniably black. I have brown skin, I have braids in my hair and if that’s an issue for you...I don’t support you.”

Viewers expressed their support for Naomi commenting underneath her video: “Always that ‘angry black girl’, and never a black girl who has reason to be angry...” and “Companies treat women of color like charity cases, like ‘oh you should be thankful we are even giving you a chance’”.

TROPICAL TRIP: Kianna Naomi in Fiji

A Dote spokesperson told that only two photoshoots were scheduled for the duration of the Fiji visit and that it was down to the photographers and individuals to schedule sessions outside of the shoots.

In a statement obtained by, it said: “Dote’s mission is to foster diversity, inclusivity and equality, and we would never do anything deliberately to hinder that objective. Dote has hosted several trips for our brand ambassadors, and we have always gone to great lengths to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

The teen is not the only influencer to openly speak out about feeling that she was treated differently to white peers by the brand.

Several YouTubers criticised the brand after a trip to Coachella, claiming they were segregated from the white influencers in the accommodation.

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Dote denied that it had intentionally designated women of colour on the trip to a separate wing of the property.

"To address the rumors [sic] about a recent Dote trip, the claim that one side of the house was designated to women of color [sic] is simply untrue," BuzzFeed News reported Dote said. "Young women of all backgrounds were assigned to rooms throughout the house and everyone had beds to sleep in."

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