Silence during violence, endorsed fairness creams: Bollywood stars called out for showing support to ‘Black Lives Matter’

New Delhi: You endorsed fairness creams, you remained silent when minorities were being killed, you chose to remain mum when Delhi was burning, and now you support ‘Black Lives Matter’. How ironic can it be for Bollywood stars who are being called out on Twitter for their hypocrisy!

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 came across given that most desi actors have endorsed fairness creams or “skin whitening” creams at some point in their career.

The irony here is startling. Is it really possible for these celebs to promote fairness creams back home and yet raise their voice against racism? This exposes Indian society’s colourist mindset and its obsession with fair skin and conventional beauty standards.

The problem with fairness creams is that its very existence is proof of one skin tone being more desirable 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?

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:

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:

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:

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.

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