Kuwaiti Blackface: Makeup Artist's Video Triggers Heated Debate Over Racism

Published January 2nd, 2020 - 10:01 GMT
How a Kuwaiti Makeup Video Launched a Heated Debate on Race
Some comments wondered if international makeup brands she works with will be concerned once they know of this debate. (Instagram)

Hours after posting a controversial short music video on Instagram in blackface makeup, prominent Kuwaiti makeup artist explained on Snapchat why she won't apologize nor remove the video. She argued that her message is to tell everyone that they are beautiful regardless of where they are from, and that she did it to explore and show off her makeup skills.


Translation: "Dear Ghadeer Sultan, the blackface is a racist insulting act well-known all around the world, because of historic events related to the oppression black people faced compared to white people. You know very well that what you've done isn't acceptable anywhere, especially after the reaction Myriam Fares received"

Her video, which played the song We Are the World,  ignited a strong online debate with people calling on her to remove the video and apologize for what they referred to as a 'racist practice', reminding her of a similar angry responses to Lebanese singer Myriam Fares when she released a music video in blackface in December 2018.

Some responses on Twitter urged the makeup artist to read more about the history of blackface to understand how offensive it can be.

Translation: "Everyone was against Myriam Fares after her clip because the whole world realizes that this is a racist practice. If you wanted to deliver a certain message, you could have asked a black model for help, but you meant to spark controversy. I'm reporting this to all makeup companies as long as you don't want to admit how racist this is."

Translation: "Dude NO! This is wrong. Black people don't appreciate it and they would consider it offensive. I'm sure you don't mean to offend anyone but you have to read about its history and what makes it wrong."

On the other hand, some online users came to Sultan's defense saying that blackface doesn't have the same connotation in the Middle East the way it does in the West, calling on people to understand her intentions, especially since the video wasn't ridiculing people with dark skin.

Translation: "I've never heard of Ghadeer before but she explained that she was well-intentioned. Some people are just simplistic and don't put too much thought into their own ways of proving that they aren't racist. We should only hold those who know that what they are doing is wrong, not ones who are trying to convey good messages but using the wrong ways."

Translation: "What does this have to do with racism? It's not like she mocked it or degraded. Only racists think blackface is racist because they don't have the same reaction when someone does 'white' makeup. I think what she did was more of a tanned face."

Translation: "This has nothing to with blackface because blackface is meant to ridicule people and show them with shabby outfits to indicate they are stupid and ignorant. Ghadeer's look is meant to show her skills. It is so childish how people use twitter to smear everything as racist."

Some wondered how the international makeup brands she works with will react once they learn of the controversial video. 

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