The Curious Second Life of Blac Chyna

Blac Chyna is rebranding. The reality TV personality has made some drastic personal changes in the past few months, shifting her entire physical appearance and even name: the woman once known as Blac Chyna now goes by her birth name, Angela Renée White.

As such, the rebranding of Blac Chyna presents an interesting case study on public personas in the Kardashian age, a reflection of the ways in which celebrity is contextualized by the audience (and not the other way around).

Blac Chyna (or Angela Renée White), born in 1988, transitioned from an exotic dancer — namedropped in Drake’s “Miss Me” — to modeling for men’s magazines before landing a breakout role as Nicki Minaj’s body double in the “Monster” music video.

Her biggest claim to fame was a relationship with Rob Kardashian, which yielded a child: six-year-old Dream Kardashian.

However, shortly after the birth of Dream, Blac Chyna and Rob separated. In 2017, she filed a $100 million lawsuit against the Kardashian family for defamation; in 2022, Blac Chyna lost the lawsuit.

Following a series of tumultuous social media beefs and the occasional stab at a pop single, Blac Chyna opted to do a 180. In March, a month after attending the 2023 Grammy Awards, Blac Chyna was replaced by Angela Renée White.

On Instagram, White revealed that she’d been baptized on her 33rd birthday back in 2022 and publicly announced a Christian rebirth.

White then engaged in a tour of media outlets to promote her new self, all the while seeking cosmetic treatments that mostly removed work she’d previously had done, including filler and a tattoo of occultist deity Baphomet.

White also deleted her OnlyFans account — though rumors estimated that she earned hundreds of millions of dollars from OnlyFans, White claimed that she made about $2m after two years on the site.

Whereas previous Blac Chyna shenanigans were subject to all manner of discourse both good and bad, the general public is uniformly approving of Angela White.

It’s not hard to see why, either. Everyone loves a good redemption arc and White looks to be in a better place both mentally and physically.

White’s toned down the outrageous outfits, without entirely sacrificing the sauciness that she built her brand with, she’s smiling more, and she appears to be in a good place.

Better yet, White said in recent interviews that her kids prompted her shift — besides Dream Kardashian, White has another child, King Cairo, with former beau Tyga — and everyone loves to see a parent do right by their children.

Another element in White’s favor: her mother, Shalana “Tokyo Toni” Hunter, is herself a pretty outspoken social media figure and makes for a pretty good villain in this whole saga.

The wrinkle here is that White’s rebranding has been so widely embraced that it even lured in effusive praise from far-right pundits representing various grifting organizations.

These folks are keen to use White’s newfound faith for proselytizing their own brand of Christian nationalism, regardless of the fact that, a year ago when White was getting baptized, they likely couldn’t have cared less for her.

Also, White apparently attends Bishop Noel Jones’ Los Angeles megachurch, which is worth considering. There’s nothing inherently wrong being a part of with these giant evangelical congregations, necessarily, but their effect upon celebrities and unfathomably deep pockets are worth some wariness.

It also must be said that the Blac Chyna-Angela White rebrand comes mere months after allegations of sex trafficking and abuse made by TikToker Ava Louise.

The claims are currently the subject of an ongoing court case — in a legal document, White reportedly called Louise’s allegations “false, extreme and outrageous” — but something to consider.

This all makes Angela White’s rebranding comparatively difficult to contend with. On one hand, kudos are certainly due for White’s personal growth. She does look and sound far happier than ever before and, frankly, good for her.

On the other hand, there’s a troubling dark side to the entire affair, some of which isn’t White’s fault by any means. If nothing else, perhaps it’s worth simply acknowledging that White appears much improved and simply moving on.

Nothing’s ever easy these days, is it?

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