You may be familiar with Doja Cat because she is a popular American singer, rapper, record producer, and songwriter and has collaborated with big names in the music industry such as Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and hip hop duo City Girls. However, Doja Cat is full of controversies. Aside from her controversial relationship with her father, the rapper is also fond of making controversial comments publicly. Be that as it may, not many know that Doja Cat’s real name is Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini, and she is actually of South African descent. However, some controversies are surrounding her relationship with her South African father.
Doja Cat Was Born Into A Multi-Talented Family
American rapper and singer Doja Cat was born and raised by a single mother, Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer, in Los Angeles, California. According to Doja, she never had a relationship with her father while growing up. While her mum was a painter, her dad is a dancer and actor.
After her birth, her mother moved to New York City, where they stayed for five years before moving back to Los Angeles. While they were in California Oak Park, her mother enrolled her into a dance class, and her Aunty, who was a singer, started teaching her how to sing.
At the age of 11, the family moved to Sherman Oaks, where they lived in an ashram in the mountains of Agoura Hills and started practicing Hinduism. On that note, she started wearing a head covering and singing bhajans in a temple where the American jazz musician, Alice Coltrane, was the Swami.
It was at this point that she started losing interest in school while gaining interest in dance. As she grew older, she joined breakdancing classes and joined a professional pop-locking troupe to compete in dance battles around Los Angeles. She was trying to combine dance and school all this while, but of course, her academic work suffered more. She would often skip classes, so finally, she dropped out of school at the age of 16 while still in her junior year.
Her Father Is A South African Dancer And Actor
Although Doja Cat claims that her father, Dumisani Dlamini, was not involved in her upbringing, the popular South African dancer, actor, and movie producer of Zulu descent has a different side to the story.
Best known for starring in the musical movie Sarafina!, Dumisani Dlamini met Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer while in the US. They had two children within the space of time when they were together. But, according to him, after 12 years of being in the US, he became homesick and needed to return to South Africa, which he did. He claims that he wanted to move with his family, but that did not happen as he came alone.
In response to her claim of never meeting her father, Dumisani says he has been looking for his daughter for so long, and her management thwarted every effort he makes to reach her. As though he forgot he already said this, in another instance, he said he spoke to his daughter before she became famous and that he is actively involved in the lives of all his children. He also stated that Doja Cat’s insistence that she has never met him is just a story she made up to gain fame.
Currently, he comments on all of his daughter’s posts on social media and is very proud of the woman she has become. Although she finds all of this awkward, she doesn’t seem to hold any grudge against her father and agrees that she must have gotten some of her talents from him.
Meet Doja Cat’s Mother, Deborah Elizabeth Sawyer
She may not have played any major role in making her daughter famous, but Doja Cat gives her mother, Deborah Sawyer, credit for inspiring her love for music and her genre of music. She said her mother played a lot of hip-hop while growing up as a child, influencing her love for music. According to Doja, her mum usually played songs from artists like Erykah Badu, Jamiroquai, Fugees, Alice Coltrane, and many others, and as a child, she absolutely loved it.
Her mother was totally responsible for her upbringing, and thankfully, Doja Cat has turned out to be a blessing. Aside from inspiring Doja Cat’s love for hip-hop, Deborah Sawyer, a painter, also inspired her love for creativity.
She Started Making Music in 2012 and Had Her Breakthrough In 2019
Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini is an American singer, rapper, and songwriter who launched her career on SoundCloud. She finally started getting recognized in 2012 when her song, So High, became her first permanent upload on SoundCloud, and she got signed in with RCA Records. Doja Cat has been making music since she was a teenager, and today she is popularly known for the song, Say So. The song is the hit track of her breakthrough album ‘Hot Pink,’ which was released in 2019.
She is one of those celebrities who got famous with the help of social media. Her viral song ‘Say So’ gained popularity through Tik Tok. Following the success of the hit track, she was opportune to do a remix with Nicky Minaj, and the remix topped Billboard Hot 100. She has also performed with top artists like Lil Nas, Megan The Stallion, and Ariana Grande.
It may surprise you to know that Doja Cat taught herself how to rap and write music while struggling with drug addictions. In fact, she got her stage name from her favorite kind of marijuana known as ‘Doja,’ and since she loved her cat, she decided to add ‘Cat’ to form her stage name “Doja Cat.”
Doja Cat Has Courted Many Controversies
Doja Cat’s knack for making absurd and controversial posts on social media has earned her the title of ‘skilled internet troll.’ And even after apologizing severally, she still gets in on the act over and over again.
Social Media Controversies
In 2018, her Twitter account history revealed the use of the word ‘faggot’ from a tweet she made in 2015, where she used the word as a description for hip hop artists Tyler, the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt. In her defense, she claimed she has been using the word ‘faggot’ since high school and did not make anything of it.
Additionally, she said that using the word does not mean she hates gay people. On the contrary, being gay is OK. She tendered her apology and deleted the tweet. However, that was not enough as she still gained the title “Milkshake Duck of 2018” by New Musical Express (NME).
On Instagram, it was revealed that she referred to men as ‘nigga’ while in chat rooms. She also apologized and said she has never been involved in racist conversations. Frequent users of the room also confirmed that she does not engage in racist conversations.
COVID-19 And Song Controversy
In May 2020, she was slammed for calling the deadly coronavirus a ‘flu.’ When she received a backlash for her comments, she tendered an apology, but that did not stop her from attending Kendall Jenner Halloween and birthday celebration in October that same year – during the pandemic.
As she gained popularity, more people started listening to her old songs, which didn’t go viral. On that account, a song titled Dindu Nuffin, which she released in 2015 gained recognition for being a racist song. ‘Dindu Nuffin’ is an informal way of referring to African- Americans who were victims of police brutality and claimed to be innocent. She apologized for using the term in her song and denied that the song was about Sandra Bland’s death.