PEOPLE are furious after the creator of a Instagram page promoting black-owned businesses turned out to be white.

The owner of Independent Black Businesses apologised for "being unclear" as she revealed herself as Helen, a white woman, after being accused of digital blackface by people online.

The Brighton and Hove social media page which "celebrates indie black business" was started in June this year and has been asking for money through PayPal and Patreon.

The Argus:

People were being invited to give Helen money through PayPal

The page has been accused of being "misleading" due to its use of the black emoticons - which gave the impression, people claim, that it was being run by a black person.

Instagram users have left dozens of messages underneath an apology from the page, which was put up on Tuesday, along with a picture of its owner, Helen, drinking coffee in Hove.

A business called Mind The Cork, which sells homeware products, said: "You also used Black skin tone emoticons. You were not representing black-owned businesses, you were speaking to me as a person.

"For days, I was speaking openly with you about a difficult issue that was affecting me as a Black person. At no point during our messages did you find an opportunity to say 'I am actually white and I stand with you'.

"You made it seem like we’re in the same boat, having the same experiences."

The Argus:

People are upset with the page's use of black emoticons 

Another business called Studio Carnaval, which sells prints, said: "So you’ve had this page for almost six months, you’ve posted over 100 times and you never thought it was important to highlight that you’re a white woman?

"I can understand you were trying to do something to help, but for me the way you have gone about it has been totally misleading.

"Plus you have a donation button on your website and a Patreon membership, so I really think you need to be forthcoming with the financial details about them."

Independent Black Businesses said it had received one backer on Patreon worth £4 and has received one donation of £10 through PayPal.

It said the money had been spent on its website, which directs visitors to black-owned business.

In a lengthy apology, posted online, Helen said: "It has been brought to my attention recently that there has been some confusion over the face behind Independent Black Businesses so I wanted to be open and clarify that I, Helen, am White.

"I created this page out of an anger and passion to create change and to celebrate and raise awareness for Black-owned businesses.

The Argus:

The page has posted an apology 

"Upon reflection I realise now that not being clear and open at the start could have given out the wrong impression.

"I also want to address that my use of dark skin tone emoticons has been erroneous.

"On doing research around this, I can now see that using emoticons that differ to your own skin colour can be a form of digital blackface and digital cultural appropriation.

"I can now see how this could come across as misleading and apologise for being unclear."

The Argus contacted Independent Black Businesses for further comment.