"Always" is not strictly accurate. She was black in one of the non-canon guest issues of the Mirage comic:April...I'm sorry, I know I'm going to catch hell for this, but I have to say it. You know that if/when a character that's always been portrayed as black gets whitewashed, creators will absolutely catch holy hell for it. So it really just pisses me off that we're totally okay with a character that's always been portrayed as white getting blackwashed. Give me hell if you want to, but there's absolutely a double standard. I didn't like it with Rise and I don't like it here.
But even in the canon issues (where she was white), she had a perm and a tan for a long stretch, so it's not surprising if some people actually thought she was black when she wasn't.