Less than a month after Malaysian singer Choo Hao Ren was criticised for brownface in his MV, Malaysian actress and entrepreneur Syatilla Melvin has come under fire for using blackface to promote her new foundation line Foundation WAJAH in a TikTok video that has since been deleted.
The TikTok video was reposted by Malaysian video producer Nandini Balakrishnan and showed Syatilla first appearing in blackface before tapping the screen a few times and transforming into a fair-skinned lady. The caption in the video read "Foundation WAJAH #mukakulittleloq", referring to the new foundation which she launched under Wajah Kekasih.
Balakrishnan said if Syatilla wants to sell foundation, there are many ways to market it. She added that there was no need to resort to blackface and there are also individuals out there who do not use foundation to lighten their skin. The tweet has since amassed 20.2k retweets, 1.4k quote tweets and 24k likes.
On top of the deleted video, Syatilla also posted another TikTok video showing the common struggle of a female putting on eyeliner. The video shows her attempting to draw the exact same shape of eyeliner on both sides but as she continues lining her eyes, the eyeliner grows thicker and eventually covers her face in black.
In response to this particular eyeliner video, Syatilla apologised on Instagram and explained that she did not take into account other people's feelings and sensitivities and sought for forgiveness. She added that her video had no intention of poking fun at blackface but rather targeted at individuals who do not know how to apply eyeliner. The comments section for her apology video has since been deleted. A+M has reached out to Syatilla for a comment.
Netizens on Instagram and Twitter have criticised her marketing strategy for being "garbage", "idiotic" and "cheap". One even pointed out that a common cycle for celebrities nowadays is to create a video that triggers anger so as to go viral, apologise, and repeat again. At the same time, others have also called Syatilla out for being insensitive, ignorant, and racist. Some have also said her apology regarding the eyeliner video did not make sense because women would know not to apply eyeliner all over their faces.
Last month, Malaysian singer Choo apologised for featuring a Chinese woman wearing brownface in his MV. He clarified that the main intention of the video was to highlight the effects of sunburnt skin.
"It was never my intention to make fun of skin colour or touch on any racially sensitive topics. I sincerely apologise if I have offended anyone," he said. He also explained that the storyline meant to showcase the female protagonist taking care of her sunburnt skin, especially in a country such as Malaysia where it is easy for consumers to become sunburnt.
Photo courtesy: Nandini Balakrishnan's Twitter account
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