Rita Ora’s Albanian Ethnicity: Singer’s Cultural Background and Blackfishing Accusations

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Rita Ora is of Albanian ethnicity. She was born to Albanian parents in Pristina, Yugoslavia (now Kosovo).

Her mother, Vera (née Bajraktari), is a psychiatrist, and her father, Besnik Sahatçiu, is a pub owner. Ora has an older sister, Elena, and a younger brother, Don.

Rita Ora was born on November 26, 1990, in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (modern-day Kosovo), to Albanian parentsRita Ora was born on November 26, 1990, in Pristina, SFR Yugoslavia (modern-day Kosovo), to Albanian parents (Credit: PixieMe / Shutterstock)

Ora’s surname is Sahatçiu, derived from the Turkish word saatçi, which means ‘watchmaker.’ However, her parents later added Ora (ora means ‘time’ in Albanian) to the family surname so it could be easily pronounced.

Ora is fluent in Albanian and has spoken about her pride in her heritage. She has said she feels “very connected” to her Albanian roots and is “proud to be Albanian.”

In 2015, Ora was named an Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo by then-president Atifete Jahjaga.

Rita Ora's Albanian mother, Vera Sahatçiu, is a Catholic psychiatrist who was born in KosovoRita Ora’s Albanian mother, Vera Sahatçiu, is a Catholic psychiatrist who was born in Kosovo (Credit: Famous / ACE PICTURES / INSTARimages)

Ora, who was joined at the ceremony by her parents, and former British Prime Minister and his wife, Tony and Cherie Blair, stated she was “overwhelmed” by the honor.

“My parents brought us – my elder sister and younger brother – to this country with the hope and the dream that we could get a decent education, which is so important for our hopes and values and for what we want to achieve in our lives,” Rita Ora said.

“I grew up in Britain, a country that has given me so much for which I am grateful, but I will always have a special place in my heart for my hometown and Kosovo.”

Posing with Lirim Greicevci, the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo, Rita Ora was appointed as an honorary ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo during a ceremony at the embassy in London on July 10, 2015Posing with Lirim Greicevci, the Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo, Rita Ora was appointed as an honorary ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo during a ceremony at the embassy in London on July 10, 2015 (Credit: Ian West / PA Images / Startraksphoto)

Ora’s ethnic background has been the subject of some controversy. In 2016, she was accused of “blackfishing” after she was seen wearing cornrows and laid edges.

Blackfishing is a term used to describe when someone who is not black uses hairstyles, makeup, or tanning to appear black. Ora denied the accusations, saying she was “inspired by different cultures.”

The controversy led to a discussion about the cultural appropriation of black culture by white celebrities.

Some people have argued that Ora’s actions were offensive and that she was using black culture for her own personal gain. Others have defended Ora, saying she is simply expressing her cultural identity.

Rita Ora’s Punky Marc Jacobs Look at the 2016 VMAs: A Look at the Singer’s Edgy Fashion Evolution

We’ve seen Rita Ora dress elegantly for her appearances on America’s Next Top Model, and we’ve also seen her in sporty Rita x Adidas Originals looks.

It turns out Rita can do punk, too. The singer donned an edgy head-to-toe Marc Jacobs look for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards in New York City.

Rita Ora pulls her hair back into a spiked bun at the 2016 MTV Video Music AwardsRita Ora pulls her hair back into a spiked bun at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards held on August 29, 2016, in New York City (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

The pop star wore a look straight from the Marc Jacobs Fall 2016 runway, which featured a mesh-and-applique dress with a two-tone feather panel worn over lace underwear.

Rita Ora wears a punk-themed Marc Jacobs ensemble composed of leather, lace, feathers, fur and sheer fabricRita Ora wears a punk-themed Marc Jacobs ensemble composed of leather, lace, feathers, fur, and sheer fabric (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

Rita took the look further with a leather jacket that featured fur trim at the shoulders and embellishments at the back.

Rita Ora shows off the embellished back of her fur-trimmed leather jacket from Marc JacobsRita Ora shows off the embellished back of her fur-trimmed leather jacket from Marc Jacobs (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

The fashionable singer put the final touch on the look with ridiculously tall Marc Jacobs “Lili” platform heels.

Rita Ora's feet in ridiculously high Marc Jacobs platformsRita Ora’s feet in ridiculously high Marc Jacobs platforms (Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN)

Rita seemed to be oozing with self-confidence at MTV’s backstage snippets, so we think it’s safe to say that the then-25-year-old was feeling her punk-inspired outfit.

Check out Rita working the camera right before the 2016 MTV VMAs kicked off.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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