Tyla Speaks After Her Team Shut Down Question About Her “Coloured” Identity During Interview

by Grace Somes
Tyla || Image credit: @tyla

Tyla says she knows that she is Black. And she’s not sure why some people say differently.

Tyla’s appearance on ‘The Breakfast Club’ on Thursday, June 13, marked another instance of uncomfortable tension, adding to the show’s history of such moments.

Tyla first ignited a cultural controversy in 2023, claiming to be “a Coloured South African,” according to the BBC. A third category known as “Coloured” refers to people of mixed ethnicity, while Indigenous groups in the artist’s home region are recognized as Black and descendants of British and Dutch colonists as White.

 However, the term “colored” was discarded by African Americans in the U.S. because it was used to identify them during the racist Jim Crow era.

The South Carolina native questioned the musician about her racial identity and, more specifically, what it means to be a “South African Coloured person” during her interview with the radio show.

In particular, Charlamagne brought up the negative connotations associated with the term in the United States and asked Tyla to expound on what it meant to be a “colored” woman in South Africa.

Rather than respond to the query, Tyla looked at her apparent publicist sitting behind her.

“Can we not? Por favor,” someone on the intercom said. “Next one, please.” Charlamagne responded, “I like that. I like [it] when they talk from the back and say we can’t [bring up certain topics]. That’s even better.”

Social media users appeared to support Charlamagne in the comments section of the Instagram post. Numerous fans brought up how the singer had the opportunity to educate the public. Still, she chose to completely sidestep the subject.

The 22-year-old released a statement after the interview to address the backlash.


She shared a message on her Instagram Story: “Never denied my Blackness, idk where that came from.”

I’m mixed with black/Zulu, Irish, Mauritian/Indian, and Coloured,” Tyla continued. “In South Africa, I would be classified as a Coloured woman, and in other places, I would be classified as a black woman.”

“Race is classified differently in different parts of the world. I don’t expect to be identified as Coloured outside of Southa by anyone not comfortable doing so because I understand the weight of that word outside of SA. But to close this conversation, I’m both Coloured in South Africa and a black woman…

“As a woman of the culture. It’s and not or… with that being said, ASAMBEE.”

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