In a switch from the usual political drama, Twitter was shook up yesterday (October 11, 2019) when popular self-care handle @emoblackthot with approximately 177,000 followers unveiled himself as Isaiah Hickland, a 23-year old, bisexual black man, a startling revelation given his years portraying himself online as a skincare-obsessed, empathetic black woman.
Hickland apologized for catfishing his followers and deleted the @emoblackthot account. He followed up with a second apology on Twitter today where he pushed back on claims he exchanged nude photos in DMs with women who believed they were having an exchange with another woman.
Reception to his apology hasn’t been well received on Twitter, where user @lesliestreeter summed up the general sentiment when she wrote, “From ‘Loqueesha’ to people who ‘elevate’ black women’s hairstyles and language by putting it on non-black women and now this #emoblackthot situation, I’m so sick of being a costume for someone else’s advancement. Get your own identities. Please. Exhausting.”
More than just confess his wrongdoings, Hickland’s “The Reveal/My Story” confessional on YouTube pulled in Lil Nas X and Kehlani, while his Paper magazine story has drawn fire for Farren Jean Andrea, who styled the shoot as well as the story photographer, Nico Kartel.
Andrea admitted he had interacted with Hickland in DMs during his time as @emoblackthot, but added he never assumed the account was run by a woman. On Twitter he wrote, “i just thought emoblackthot was an anon, self-care, media content type of account. def didn’t know it ever gendered itself as a woman. i never saw those tweets.”
Kartel apologized about the Paper shoot to his followers on Twitter where he stated, “I have not been in cahoots w/ emoblackthot at all. I literally found out about their identity hours before the shoot and even then confronted him about the ‘nicole’ thing.”
Nicole is a reference to the name Hickland claimed during a period when there was a threat to out his true identity as a man. There are some Twitter sleuths theorizing the account was started by a real woman named Nicole who passed the account on to Hickland, however, there isn’t any solid evidence supporting this theory.
Hickland’s backstory begins with his attendance at Texas State University in San Marcos where he alleged he was involved with four different school organizations including a white fraternity. While in attendance, he says he became caught up with a Greek-related campus controversy, which lead to him being doxxed and subject to online racist attacks, including a Photoshopped image of himself being lynched.
While at school during 2014 or 2015, he explained he launched @madblackthot as a place of refuge where he could speak more freely about controversial topics and also boost artists he believed in including Megan Thee Stallion, Normani and Rico Nasty. He also said he started the “what y’all mad about today” meme.
Hickland alleged he used @emoblackthot to help promote Lil Nas X’s music at a time “before ‘Old Town Road’ was even a thing and he actually flew me out to L.A..” And indeed Hickland posted an image on his real Twitter account in June ’19 showing the two arm-in-arm.
The @madblackthot account was suspended sometime in 2017 or 2018 because of copyright claims, a move Hickland claimed was engineered by an enemy stan account. Subsequently, he said he took over a friend’s Twitter account and renamed it @emoblackthot.
Hickland graduated and moved to Austin where he explained he began working at a Fortune 500 company. At the same time, Hickland ended his YouTube video by stating he’s seeking a manager in an effort to find work as an actor or DJ.
In the video he also discusses reaching out in June ’19 to an r&b singer, who he said ghosted him and hurt his feelings. The singer has since self-identified as Kehlani, who admitted on Instagram Live that Hickland reached out to her.
Kehlani said she advised him to tell the truth and apologize to his followers, but noted she ended the conversation when he pivoted to capitalizing on his following and pitching his story to publications as part of an effort to launch a career in entertainment.
Check out related video and images below.