‘Daquan’ Instagram account owner defends against ‘Blackface’ accusation

The Daquan Instagram page features a Black teen as its profile picture.

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The creator and apparent operator of the popular Instagram handle, ‘Daquan‘, is defending himself against recent accusations of digital Blackface.

The acquisition of the Instagram page by Warner Music Group has sparked a debate about cultural appropriation on Instagram. Twitter and Instagram users called the account a sham because it is partially owned by a non-Black business partner.

An old story about the business deal trended after former ESPN anchor and Black activist Jemele Hill pointed her 1.3 million followers’ attention to the acquisition, questioning the motive and legitimacy of the Instagram account.

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The Daquan Instagram page, which features a Black teen as its profile picture, has more than 15 million followers and is owned by IMGN. It is the social media company’s most successful channel.

IMGN Media makes memes and viral content on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, and the company has more than 40 million subscribers and followers across multiple pages. The company garners more than 3 billion views every month.

In 2016, a Black teenager who is Ethiopian and Canadian, sold his page to IMGN. The company did not announce any changes to the page and continued to promote stolen memes which were captioned to appeal to Black audiences between the Millennial and Gen Z demographic.

Barak Shragai, Cofounder & CEO at IMGN Media (via Social Media)

Barak Shragai has been running IMGN Media for 3 years and is the cofounder and CEO. The company, based in New York, hired a team of “content creators” to write, edit, and curate memes.

Securing its funding from American and Israeli investors, IMGN raised $6 million in capital seed ventures.

Barak Shragai sold IMGN, including Daqaun, to Warner Music Group, one of the biggest music conglomerates in the world, for $85 million, The Daily Beast reported.

“In influencer accounts, you see the owners actually showing their face and their identities,” Shragai told The Daily Beast. “They become influencers who are publishing memes, and people are attached to their personalities. The problem when you are attaching your persona to something, to a publishing brand, is it becomes harder to scale.”

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Hitting back at the online accusations, the unidentified creator of the ‘Daquan’ account (who apparently is still a part-owner) released a statement to Revolt TV:

“I’m a 23-year-old Ethiopian who lives in Calgary, Canada. There’s been false claims about me and the brand the past few days. Just want to make it clear I started the account in 2014 and I have been running it since then. The guy in the [article] photo that was spreading around is my business partner. There’s only one person behind this account and that’s me — the same person who started this in 2014.”

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