A Twitter thread has called out Bollywood actors and their hypocrisy as far as the George Floyd protests are concerned. The same actors, who once promoted fairness products are today supporting 'Black Lives Matter'. Ironic?
In the last few weeks, thousands of people around the world have joined the 'Black Lives Matter' global movement to show solidarity with the George Floyd Protestors in the United States.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after being arrested by the police outside a shop in Minneapolis in the US on May 25. Footage showed a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes while he was pinned to the floor. He was pronounced dead later in the hospital, triggering widespread protests across the US.
The hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, has also been trending on social media. Interestingly, several Bollywood actors also took to social media to share their perspectives about the movement. Priyanka Chopra, Disha Patani, Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and many others shared quotes or messages in solidarity with the movement. Their effort in urging their fans to support what's right is definitely laudable. But there's just one tiny problem.
The internet was quick to point out how hypocritical this was given that most desi actors have endorsed fairness creams or "skin whitening" creams at some point in their career.
The irony here is startling. How can these celebs endorse fairness creams and simultaneously raise their voice against racism? If that is the case, what are we, as viewers, expected to believe?
The problem with fairness creams is that its very existence is proof of one skin tone being more attractive and appealing than the other, and that is not a message Bollywood actors, influential as they are, should be promoting.
A Twitter user named "Anti Pigeon" has put together a list of such Bollywood celebs.
A few days ago, Priyanka Chopra Jonas posted a message of solidarity on Instagram and said that "we all have a responsibility to educate." However, we cannot help but wonder what she was trying to "educate" when she endorsed a cream that could "reduce dark spots and give a whitish glow" for a popular brand years ago?
List of Indian actors who are speaking on BLM and their fairness cream ads, a thread : pic.twitter.com/yUeRNLch6U— anti pigeon (@aluminiummaiden) May 31, 2020
In fact, in an interview Chopra had once said that she would endorse fairness creams since she was dusky herself. Twitterati were quick to call out her lie:
How can she be so blatantly hypocrite? pic.twitter.com/Wa7c5GJ7r9— Major Neel (Retd) (@MajorNeel) June 3, 2020
Similarly, Sonam Kapoor had also been the brand ambassador for a popular cosmetic brand and had endorsed several "skin lightening" creams back in the day. But on May 30, she shared a quote saying that one shouldn't stay silent in situations like these.
Disha Patani and Deepika Padukone too:
This is very vague but let's count it pic.twitter.com/qCRWKsORMw— anti pigeon (@aluminiummaiden) May 31, 2020
Not just women, Bollywood's leading men have joined the race to become 'fair and handsome' too. And as this Twitter thread points out, actors like Shah Rukh Khan haven't even spoken up:
Please let us not forget those who haven't even said anything, is that worse? pic.twitter.com/Y3kVyC5jQz— anti pigeon (@aluminiummaiden) May 31, 2020
No, don't get us wrong. There's nothing wrong with Indian actors speaking up for the right cause. But the contradictions are obvious, and can no longer be ignored.
Several other Twitter users have called out the hypocrisy as well:
Bollywood : All colours are beautiful (but we will cast white actress and we will endorse fairness cream through racism commercial ads) #MaanKiBaat— Swayamsevak Funk (@Bongtweeps) May 31, 2020
As much I appreciate the Bollywood celebs posting their opposition to the institutional racism and police brutality, need to introspect their endorsement of fairness creams, and not speaking up against “injustice” that sustains at home.
Hypocrisy lies under their skin!— Adarsh Badri (@Adarsh_Badri) May 31, 2020
Bollywood peeps: regularly endorse fairness creams, practice blackface, actresses whitewash themselves on screen, stoic silence on issues in India
also Bollywood peeps: we condemn racism 10,000 miles away in America #hypocrisy— Sunayana Bhatia (@sunayanabhatia) June 1, 2020