Everyone is hopping on to the ‘mukbang’ TikTok trend of trying ‘exotic’ food from African countries. But rather than differentiating between the foods, the TikTok videos tend to lump them together as “African food”. YouTuber Aaliyah Jay and her Kenyan boyfriend, Menelik, seemed to want to hop on to the trend for views on YouTube and posted a video with the title “Fufu, Egusi & Okra Mukbang | Our first time eating Nigerian food! *Got Spicy*.”
The video starts off with a shot of Menelik stuffing his mouth with fufu, which is made from boiled and pounded starchy yams, plantains or cassava. Smalls balls made from the dough are usually dipped in sauces or flavorful soups before being eaten. However, Menelik puts a huge amount of fufu in his mouth before spitting the food out of his mouth, off-camera, because he can’t swallow it as Aaliyah Jay, who is African-American, looks on in shock.
Later, in the video, both Aaliyah Jay and Menelik treat the food seemingly disrespectfully, from making vomiting gestures to looking disgusted with how the egusi smells saying it would ‘stink up the crib’. They also keep referring to the food as “African food” despite the video’s title.
While Menelik keeps saying he doesn’t like the food, he keeps wolfing down the food, especially the fufu, okra and jollof rice, while licking his fingers. His negative reaction only comes after he sees Aaliyah Jay making a disgusted face after eating the food. At one point in the video, they refer to it as “dog food” and Menelik calls himself ‘disgrace to Africa’.
In the comments sections of the YouTube video, many viewers called Menelik a self-hating African with an insecurity complex and said this video should not have been posted if Aaliyah Jay did not like the food because the video just ended up disrespecting an entire culture and food habits. Others commented saying they were tired of African food being treated as “entertainment” on American Youtube channels and TikTok videos.
The video has racked up 8.4K dislikes and only 2.9K likes since it was posted. The video was dragged on Twitter as well with users posting screenshots or clips from the video that they found particularly offensive.
“@AaliyahJay and Menelick are taking the piss, first time ive had to dislike one of her videos, ewww”, while another said: “Aaliyah Jay and Menelik could’ve recorded themselves eating Kenyan food. But they didn’t. They wanted to dunk on Nigerian food together lmao.” Another tweet commented: “@AaliyahJay This is rather disappointing coming from african americans. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions but how can you watch and edit this and think it’s okay? “Do Africans eat shrimp?” and calling it “dog food” is very ignorant and disrespectful.”
Aaliyah Jay and Menelik could’ve recorded themselves eating Kenyan food. But they didn’t. They wanted to dunk on Nigerian food together lmao. Oniranu.
— Lamide (@lameeday) January 29, 2021
@AaliyahJay This is rather disappointing coming from african americans. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions but how can you watch and edit this and think it’s okay? “Do Africans eat shrimp?” and calling it “dog food” is very ignorant and disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/CzFKSrd37F
— Aisha Tolu B🦋🪐 (@aishtb) January 29, 2021
Another user commented about how this could end up hurting the beauty and fashion YouTuber, saying: “Damn. It’s too early in the year for AaliyahJay to get canceled. She was doing so good. But that video… I love her personality I really do but menelik may be her down fall”, and another tweet focussed on his behavior, commenting: “it’s Aaliyah Jay boyfriend slandering Nigerian food while licking his fingers & continuing to eat for me”. One angry user tweeted: “The fact that Aaliyah Jay’s boyfriend said he’s a disgrace to Africa….yes, yes you are”.
Damn. It’s too early in the year for AaliyahJay to get canceled. She was doing so good. But that video…🥴🥴
I love her personality I really do but menelik may be her down fall 😩
— Ashya Shanell✨ (@caramelxcouture) January 29, 2021
But it’s Aaliyah Jay boyfriend slandering Nigerian food while licking his fingers & continuing to eat for me 😭
— sheontknownuffin (@__welovejordan) January 29, 2021
The fact that Aaliyah Jay’s boyfriend said he’s a disgrace to Africa….yes, yes you are
— Trice✨ (@danntrii) January 29, 2021
Who is Aaliyah Jay?
Aaliyah Jay is an American social media personality who has a net worth of $1 million according to celebritynetworth.com. Her first name is actually Joy and Aaliyah is her middle name which she now uses as her primary moniker. She was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in June 1994 but moved to Brooklyn, New York, when she was five. The now 26-year-old has more than 1.47 million subscribers on her self-titled YouTube channel MsAaliyahJay and around 2 million followers on her Instagram account. Her main social media channels focus on beauty and fashion. Besides being a YouTuber and social media personality, Aaliyah Jay also makes her cash as a freelance MUA, a product promoter, and has done beauty seminars.
She also runs another YouTube channel with her boyfriend on which she had posted the Nigerian food mukbang. Aaliyah Jay formerly dated Shamorie Ponds as well as NBA player Archie Goodwin and hip hop artist PNB Rock.