Jojo Siwa is speaking out.
On Friday, June 26, internet users criticized the 17-year-old Nickelodeon star for featuring a young dancer in the music video for “Nonstop” who appears to be wearing brown facial makeup and monkey ears. In the circus-themed visual, which was released on June 19, Jojo performs alongside a number of dancers dressed in various animal costumes.
The comments on the YouTube video were turned off after some compared the dancer’s makeup to blackface. Others also claimed they were blocked by Jojo for scrutinizing the music video.
“When is @itsjojosiwa going to address the little girl in blackface in her latest music video?” one user tweeted. Another added, “…it’s safe to say white privilege and ignorance is what she chooses to use her platform towards millions of kids for.”
Jojo shared a lengthy statement in response, which read in part, “I would like to address the music video that we shot for ‘NONSTOP’ in February. We’re talking about kids dressing up as circus animals! No one in my video is wearing blackface. It’s awful that anyone’s mind would even go there. Kids dressing in animal costumes, having their faces painted to look like animals, acting the part.”