Following the tragic death of George Floyd, people, celebrities, politicians, and influencers from across the world have been standing in solidarity with the African American community and the Black Lives Matter movement. While protests broke out in various parts of the United States, people across the world have used their social media platforms to convey their messages of solidarity and have been using the hashtag ‘Black Lives Matter’. Twitter had also given the hashtag an emoji to accompany it.
— Michael (@MeetMichael_) June 8, 2020
— Bristol City Council (@BristolCouncil) June 8, 2020
While the hashtag was created to promote conversations about racial inequity and the deaths of innocent black men and women at the hands of law enforcement in the United States, the sudden widespread use of the hashtag has prompted criticism from some social media users.
Celebrities and influencers, especially those from India, have come under scrutiny for their use of the Black Lives Matter hashtag. One of the criticisms is that those using the hashtag are doing it for social media traction and not because they support the movement in any authentic way.
The hypocrisy of the celebrities has also been called out, especially in India where the same celebrities endorse fairness creams and skin-brightening products for years perpetrating the myth that being dark is being ugly. The sudden outpouring of sympathy while endorsing these views has been called out as problematic.
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
There’s no place more racist than Bollywood. They’ve always shown Black people in poor light — mostly as goons, sidekicks of antagonists or as comical troublemakers.
Them advocating #BlackLivesMatter reeks of opportunism and hypocrisy.
— slick (@slickenteur) June 3, 2020
Bollywood directors/Producers/actors force everyone to believe that Black color is synonym for Poor and low caste Family.
— Farrago Abdullah (@abdullah_0mar) June 3, 2020
Agreeing and adding her point to the backlash is actress Kangana Ranaut. In an interview with Lucy Hockings of the BBC, she accused the Hindi film industry of going with the trend and not actually having any real opinion about this. She questioned the celebrities’ ‘selective compassion’ by asking why they were mum during the horrific lynching of Sadhus in Palghar, Maharashtra, a native issue, but only chose to stand up for something away from home.
She added that instead of using this momentum and shedding light on issues happening in the country, celebrities are merely commercialising the moment. “We want to involve ourselves in a fully-developed nation’s political issues, but we have so much to do here at our underdeveloped nation, which we aren’t paying attention to,” said Kangana in the video chat.
She also mentioned that she’s the only actor in the industry to not engage in million-dollar deals with fairness cream companies. “Maybe I’m the exception. Not maybe, certainly I’m the exception,” says Kangana.
Catch #KanganaRanaut in conversation with @LucyHockingsBBC on @BBCWorld on selective activism of Bollywood Celebrities, commercializing dissent, Fairness Creams Endorsements in #India, #Blacklivesmatter & silence on #PalgharSadhuLynching & other burning matters in India (3/3) pic.twitter.com/BX90LwYgCM
— Team Kangana Ranaut (@KanganaTeam) June 5, 2020
A few days back, a thread on Twitter regarding Bollywood/Pakistani stars who have never endorsed a skin lightening product was started. To this, ‘Sacred Games’ star Kubbra Sait replied with Kangana’s and her name. Several others also weighed in and supported the star.
Kangana I think.
— Kubbra Sait (@KubbraSait) June 5, 2020
Ranbir and prabhas https://t.co/X2Ln3CigQh
— Abhi! (@abhiraj1717) June 5, 2020
Sai Pallavi pic.twitter.com/KFRF9qKgqT
— Silambarasu Sivakurunathan (@SilamSiva) June 5, 2020
Mahira Khan, Hareem Farooq, Ayeza Khan, Sanam Baloch, Iqra Aziz, Hania Amir, Urwa Hocane, Yumna Zaidi, Sarah Khan, Momina Mustehsan, Sanam Saeed, Syra Yousuf, Kubra Khan…just to name a few😌
— H.. (@hajraali) June 5, 2020
Kangana also came under fire for her bizarre answer to a question on celebrities doing a lot for disadvantaged people during the pandemic. Her answer was entirely unrelated to the question. Instead Kangana spoke about appeasing minorities and how Hinduism is the only religion where there’s no conversion.
Is this in some code language that only bhakts can decipher?
Because to me, it sounded like pure gibberish to a statement about Indian celebrities doing charity work. https://t.co/ey8QJOdDdV
— Viva Falastin 🌹 (@OdinProphecy) June 7, 2020
Also Read: The Fascinating Fascism of Kangana Ranaut