It’s about time, Pakistanis waged a skin tone war yet again. The same topic, different platforms over again. Let it be the aunty next door talking about ‘kitna rang kharab hua hai’ or our very beloved fashion industry. It’s always the skin tone! Everyone knew about the sensitivity of the topic, but we guess celebrity stylist Nabila had been living under a rock. Just when we thought it was a break from the industry drama, Nabila jumped in with her salon’s blackface campaign. So what exactly is blackface?
Blackface is when someone makes himself black to imitate black people. Which in fact is a sort of racism. That’s what exactly was done to model Zara Abid. WHO IS NOT BLACK!
Curious about what exactly happened? Let me shed some light. Recently, Nabila pulled a salon campaign in which she employed model Zara Abid for the shoot. The model has a tanned skin which has touch up the requirement of slim to none. Abid was turned black for the shoot instead of giving other black models a chance. The shoot was styled by Tabesh Khoja and hair and makeup by Nabila herself.
The social media took Nabila into crosshairs. Twitter buzzed with binary hashtags of ‘blackface’ and ‘Nabila’. While there is Twitter, there is trolling.
Both Nabila and Zara Abid took their Instagram platforms to justify.
“It doesn’t matter if you are black white or in between. I’m amazed at the backlash a stylist has received for using a dark model, and enhancing her skin tone,”
Nabila lawyered the stylist and spoke further in his defence:
“He is being bashed for doing a beautiful and artistic shoot with gold jewelry on dark skin. Why do the trolls have to equate being dark with African? Have they not seen how dark and gorgeous the South Asian women are? Why they are not represented or celebrated? Why do we still believe white is supreme? When will we shed our colonialist mindset? The world is becoming a melting pot.”
Model Zara Abid took her Instagram to rant chat:
“I’m the first-hand victim of discrimination and colourism that exists in the society. The pictures shared of the shoot that have been circulating have been misconstrued and manipulated by the social media users who are often too quick to jump to conclusions.”
“There is a lack of representation among our dark skinned girls. Why? Because people want to see fair faces donning products as there is a longstanding and deeply-seated colonial insecurity that has always been a part of our society.”
The model went on how she was made ‘fair-skinned’ previously and related it to this matter:
“Why didn’t people stand up when I was portrayed as a lighter skin tone and are only enraged when I’m trying to represent the darker side of my population?” the model questioned.
“It’s high time we stop shaming dark skin and embrace it with open hearts and mind.”
Cultural appropriation means borrowing some of the elements of a particular culture, but there is a thin line of insult and inspiration. Pakistan specifically is a culture where the gora rang is worshipped and this particular type of shoot can only fuel a regressive mindset. Cultural borrowing is okay, but using it for an uproar is not.
As this matter folds back, we sit tight for the next ‘fashion uproar’ because the penny isn’t dropping down for our society anytime soon.