ICYMI, Malaysian YouTuber, Haoren, collaborated with a skin whitening product and released a music video that then went viral for containing elements of colourism and blackface.
The internet erupted into a fit of anger, with netizens shaking their heads at companies and public figures who seem to never learn their lesson.
Today, Haoren issued an apology on his IGTV where he also explained his true intentions behind the concept and lyrics of the video and song.
Here are a few snippets of what he said (thankfully he included subtitles this time):
The video was meant to show a sunburned girl and that he never meant to touch on racial topics
The video also emphasised unconditional love, where Haoren continued to admire the girl even though she remained tanned at the end of the video
The video has since been removed so he can re-edit and re-upload without any offensive elements
While Haoren seems genuine in his apology, which is by far leagues above some of the half-assed apologies we’ve seen before, he still doesn’t seem to understand that colourism and racism are not the same thing.
Racism is discrimination based on race, while colourism is discrimination based on skin colour.
The backlash did not occur because people thought he was racist, it occurred because his music video had colourist elements.
It is a common misconception that all Chinese people have fair skin. In actuality, fair skin is tied to aristocracy and elitism.
Back in the day, women with fair skin are held to a higher standard because they tend to be women of class and wealth. Women who were tanned were usually farmers or workers who had to be under the sun a lot. With this, colourism surfaced as those with tanner skin would be seen in a lower regard as compared to their paler counterparts.
Chinese women are not the only ones who go through this. This issue is present with Malays and Indians as well, so much so that popular skin whitening brand Fair & Lovely had to re-brand because of their problematic, colourist selling point.
Euro-centric beauty also has a major role in the way we perceive fair skin as the coveted standard. Due to colonialism, these beauty standards were forced on us and we felt the need to lighten our skins in order to mimic our oppressors.
Long story short, we did not say you were racist, Haoren. But you were perpetuating colourism.
There’s nothing wrong with being tan, which Haoren seems to mildly understand since his character remains in love with the female lead despite her skin tone.
So, why is it that the entire video focuses on the negatives of tanned skin and portrays that only one person, the person who truly loves you, would ignore that? It defeats the purpose.
At the end, Haoren mentions that he will re-edit and re-upload the video without any offensive elements, but collaborating with a skin whitening brand is already putting one foot in the grave.
How is he going to rid of elements of colourism when collaborating with a skin whitening brand is colourist enough?
I guess we shall see…
Watch the video in full below:
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