Maya Jama lied about her Somali heritage as a teenager after becoming the target of cruel bullies.
Maya, who is from a mixed-race background, hit the headlines last month when a fan unearthed a tweet from 2012 in which the 23-year-old mocked women with darker skin who shaved their heads.
“Dark skin b**ches shaving their head expecting to look like (the model) Amber Rose, when really they end up looking like Micheal Jordan,” her post read.
Maya, who is dating rapper Stormzy, addressed the issue in a new episode of The Receipts Podcast on Wednesday (23May18) – and revealed that she used to lie about her heritage after being bullied.
“There were these boys and they were so horrible to me when they found out that I was Somali,” she explained. “When they asked me where I’m from I used to be like ‘yeah I’m Spanish and Jamaican’ or something like that. And just made a whole completely new background because I didn’t want people to judge me from where I was from.”
Although she instantly apologised for the offensive tweet, Maya’s statement was criticised as she claimed she had copied the joke from a comedian’s post.
In her podcast interview she reiterated her apology, confessing that reflecting on her own experiences made her realise fans’ anger was justified.
“I was definitely just an ignorant person that was trying to make people laugh and not understanding the seriousness of jokes like that,” she said. “I think if you go back to that time, it was an ignorant, stupid place and a lot of people shouldn’t have been saying the things they were saying.”
Maya also revealed that she gave up social media in the wake of the controversy to preserve her mental health as she was receiving abuse and death threats.