In a country like India, colorism and racial discrimination are alarmingly rampant. And we find it shocking that very few people are advocating against blackface. People with lighter skin tones rub their face with soot to appear darker. Its pretty normalized. The Indian cinema and television industry sees the biggest artists openly doing it without the slightest hesitation.
What is Blackface?
Blackface originally emerged as a way for non-black theatrical artists to play black and African characters. This was at a time when dark-skinned, Black, and African people weren’t allowed to perform. But what excuse do we have here and now? Why do we not cast ethnically appropriate actors? Instead, why do we choose to paint light-skinned people with dark paint?
Anushka Sharma – The latest blackface
Anushka Sharma is the latest star to don a blackface. The posters of her upcoming movie ‘Chakda ‘Xpress’, a biopic of Jhulan Goswami are proof. We want to ask, why don’t stars like Anushka Sharma bring their conscience to the fore? Why don’t they refuse to don brown and blackfaces in 2022? Why isn’t anybody raising hell that India refuses to cast actors from the same ethnic background as the characters they portray? Instead, we paint well-known names black and brown to make unconvincing portrayals. It reflects the Indian entertainment industry’s refusal to accept brown and dark-skinned people. And this coming from a brown-skinned country is just baffling to us.
Have you seen Bhumi Pednekar in Bala?
You would’ve watched the movie ‘Bala’, starring Ayushman Khurrana. You’ll see how Bhumi Pednekar is offensively sporting a blackface. We had to FORCE ourselves to see her depicting the struggles of a dark-skinned woman in Indian society. It was painful to see how the makers of the movie were so utterly insensitive about their message. Seeing her with her face painted black defeated the purpose of the message itself.
Celebs who faced backlash for blackface
A number of celebrities, big and small have continued to face backlash. Some have even been canceled for blackface. Here are a few instances:
- Justin Trudeau: The current Canadian Prime Minister has had several of his old photographs circulated in the media. He is seen wearing black and brownface during school events. He has publicly apologised for them.
- Kim Kardashian: Kim Kardashian appeared on a magazine cover with her face looking like it had been deliberately brightened. She was naturally called out for it. She had quickly denied it in one of the episodes of her reality tv show.
- Jenna Marbles: Jenna Marbles is a popular YouTuber who was ‘cancelled’ after a few people called out some of her old videos. They were comedy skits in which she was wearing blackface. She apologised profusely for the same in a video. She even went on to announce that she was moving on from her YouTube channel.
Well, we just hope that the current feedback about black and brownface in mainstream Indian cinema and TV receives similar backlash. We also hope the artists take serious cognizance of this downright offensive practice.