Filipino netizens are calling out American rapper and singer Doja Cat for her incorrect use of the Filipino term "balut" in her new song titled the same.
Doja Cat’s explanation: Doja Cat released the song called “Balut” from her upcoming album “Scarlet,” which will be released on Friday. The song, which features self-praising lyrics with a mid-slow tempo, was named after the famous Filipino street food balut. Balut is a steamed, fertilized developing egg embryo that is eaten from the shell.
Through her Instagram story on Sept. 17, the rapper explained why she titled the song after the Filipino term.
“I named the song Balut because it signifies a bird that’s being eaten alive. It’s a metaphor for Twitter stans and the death of Twitter toxicity. The beginning of ‘X’ and the end of ‘tweets’,” she wrote.
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Doja Cat explains the meaning behind her new song ‘Balut’:
“i named the song balut because it signifies a bird that's being eaten alive. It's a metaphor for twitter stans and the death of twitter toxicity. The beginning of ‘X’ and the end of ‘tweets’.” pic.twitter.com/MPJELOnYi9
— Pop Base (@PopBase) September 16, 2023
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Trying balut for the first time: The artist also shared her experience of trying balut for the first time on Instagram Live a day after explaining the meaning behind her song. She described the taste as reminiscent of liver and noted that she could taste the vitamins in it. While she acknowledged that it’s a fertilized egg, she did not necessarily see the duck inside. She said she put vinegar on the balut and mentioned that her favorite part was its “juice.”
“It wasn’t as whimsical as I thought it would be. Like the full [bird] and there’s feathers, and you’re eating it straight up. It wasn’t like that at all,” Doja Cat said.
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Doja Cat reveals on Instagram Live that she tried balut for the first time. pic.twitter.com/JkvsCQ7Muo
— Buzzing Pop (@BuzzingPop) September 18, 2023
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The "balut" controversy: While the song title excited Filipinos, her explanation did not sit well with most netizens, who pointed out that balut is not a live bird but rather a fertilized duck egg incubated for a certain period before being eaten.
Some found her explanation “ethnocentric,” especially in light of videos of foreigners trying balut and expressing distaste circulating on TikTok. Other social media users called for cultural respect and more information about balut to be shared on the internet.
“Doja Cat naming her song balut has the same energy of a [nepotism] baby owned business that uses Filipino words as a brand name,” one Twitter user said.
“Look man, I get inspiration from other cultures but she's just being ignorant with this one. Balut is cooked yo... we don't eat live chicks here yo…,” another person wrote.
Unwanted negativity: In light of Doja Cat’s new song, the Filipino street food has gained popularity on X. However, many Westerners expressed shock and disgust for balut, leading to more criticism against the rapper.
“This is why I didn't want doja cat using balut as the title of one of her songs cuz I KNEW tweets like these from people calling our food gross would show up,” one user tweeted.
“Since apparently the doja cat song is spotlighting balut, there will be a perception of Filipino cuisine to be as extreme as balut, whereas its just mostly normal,” a user said along with photos of some Filipino food. “This single sided perception of filo cuisine (esp when most people don't know what adobo is) will be reaaal dodgy.”
“People being xenophobic at the quotes,” another person said. “Like ALMOST ALL of you mfs eat chicken nuggets that uses chicken scraps and you draw the line for this??? like i get if you don't wanna eat it just be respectful in our culture.”