Lebanese singer Myriam Fares dons blackface in latest music video
And yes, it is 2018
Lebanese singer Myriam Fares's latest music video is getting plenty of attention online, but for all the wrong reasons: the Goumi clip shows the 35-year-old singer in a faux jungle setting, and in blackface.
She starts off in fabrics emblazoned with African-inspired patterns, while wearing bold gold jewellery and dancing like Shakira, and at two minutes and 33 seconds in, things take a decidedly strange and offensive turn when the star appears with her whole body and face painted dark brown. She stays this way throughout the rest of the music video.
Essentially, 'blackface' is when non-black people darken their skin to mimic, or rather mock, black people. Its modern roots lie in minstrel shows in the US in the early 1800s, when white performers would darken their skin with burnt cork, or shoe polish, and then paint a debasing and crudely stereotypical portrayal of an entire race of people.
Remember, in the US, these white performers profited from the act, making money by singing and dancing - something that black people were unable to make a living doing in the time of slavery. Blackface was needed because actual blackness wasn't welcome on stage. And also, when black performers first appeared on stage and film in the US, they were also painted in black paint, to appear darker: which was their only option in order to get work.
This video sums up why blackface is so problematic (in an American context):
It is hard to imagine that someone like Fares, in 2018, wouldn't know how loaded and offensive perpetuating blackface would be, and reactions on Twitter have shown a lot of disappointment from those around the region:
Here is an English translation of the song's lyrics...
Stand up, stand up, stand up
Stand up, stand up and dance
Show them your beauty
The day you danced
You were gorgeous
And crowned everyone’s head
With your coquetry
Yalla yalla yalla
Pretty as the moon
Show me your beauty
Yalla yalla yalla
Get up (and dance)
Isn’t it enough
Your beauty had turned people insane?
All the world’s beauty and henna
Are mirrored in you
Updated: December 16, 2018 03:06 PM