Doja Cat is Not Indian. Here’s Why We Love Her Anyway.

Amala Ratna grew up in an ashram learning Bharatanatyam and bhajans, but has no Indian roots. This hasn’t deterred South Asian fans from claiming her.

GettyImages-1357072955 Doja Cat
Doja Cat perform during iHeartRadio 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2021 on December 3, 2021 in Los Angeles, California (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Mehr Singh


February 28, 2023


10 min

In the video of the 2018 song “Mooo!,” rapper and singer Doja Cat stands in a cow print bikini against pixelated anime and Minecraft background and croons, “B*tch I’m a cow, b*tch I’m a cow, I’m not a cat, I don’t say meow…” She then proceeds to put french fries up her nose. 

Some were perplexed at what the song meant, while others called the video high art, a cinematic masterpiece. While “Mooo!” was not the Grammy-winner’s debut, its quirky lyrics and catchy rhythm catapulted the bovine anthem into both a viral hit and meme fodder — and later, the performer to fame. 

Doja Cat, with her South Asian-sounding name — Amala Ratna Zandile Dlamini — and racially ambiguous features, has not only enraptured fans and detractors alike, but has also inspired a curious phenomenon. South Asians the world over are intent on finding even a simulacrum of subcontinental DNA in Doja Cat. Her time in a Hindu ashram might explain this fixation, and why we can’t help but moo back. But why are we intent on claiming her?

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