Tems attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.

Tems Responds to Backlash She Received at the Oscars for Something White Celebs Have Been Doing for Years

Her response to the whole thing screams "idgaf" ...

Popular Nigerian singer and songwriter Tems rose to fame after her feature on Wizkid’s 2020 single “Essence.” Lately, however, the global superstar has found herself in some hot water after she was photographed wearing a striking white dress by Ukrainian American label Lever Couture at the 95th Academy Awards. The beautiful dress took inspiration from the shape of a blooming flower, and it featured a large, fluffy halo that caused a lot of controversy on Twitter.

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Many rushed to critique the star, arguing that her decision to wear the flamboyant dress meant that she obstructed the view of those around her, which they found rude on her part.

“Imagine waiting your whole life to be at the Oscars and you end up sitting behind a stratus cloud,” wrote a Twitter user, while another called the singer “rude and inconsiderate.”

Another user commented, “I have been thinking about the people sitting behind her since the very start of the show …”

All in all, a good number of people didn’t appreciate Tem’s dress—especially a *cough cough* specific demographic … Needless to say that the criticism still raised some eyebrows. Some people wondered why other white female celebrities like Lady Gaga, who have worn similarly intrusive dresses in the past, didn’t receive the same amount of backlash as Tems did. Perhaps the dress was just an excuse to attack a Black woman for something that is, on the grand scale of things, pretty minor.

Celebrities like Lady Gaga are known and praised for wearing huge, elaborate dresses that are obstructive by design, and nobody thought about the spectators sitting behind her at the time. So, perhaps the criticism is just an excuse for bigots to essentially say, ”How dare a black woman take up space?” If that’s the case, then we should be glad that black female celebrities like Tems are taking a stand and taking up that space. It is obvious that seeing Black female celebrities stick out and get all the attention grinds some people’s gears.

Tems’ response to the Oscars backlash

Tems was pretty cool about the whole thing. She responded with an Instagram post featuring a slideshow of her posing with the dress on, and the caption was a mocking “Uh Ohh!”

Clearly, she’s not taking this situation seriously, and she has the right to do so. After all, despite the mild backlash, she’s still a global superstar. 

(featured image: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)


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Kendra Mbadinuju
Freelance Writer at The Mary Sue. I've been writing professionally since 2022 but really I've been doing it since I could pick up a pen. I write about trending topics and issues that interest me, mainly culture, race and media stuff. English student and London-bred but enough with me now...go ahead and clink on an article of mine will ya? You won't regret it.