Yuna Slams "Racist" Blackface Parody And Says It Could End Her Career In The US

The parody was broadcast earlier this week on Malay-language entertainment programme MeleTOP.

  • Popular TV show MeleTOP received a lot of flak and backlash this week when they broadcast a parody segment featuring local comedians Jihan Muse and Shuk SYJ in blackface make-up as Yuna and Usher respectively

      • 2260 Image via Astro Ria
        A 'blackfaced' Shuk SYJ as Usher (left) and Jihan Muse as Yuna (right).
    • The live audience seemed pretty tickled by the skit, going into fits of laughter 'til the end of the show. A video of the parody skit has also gone viral with more than 251k views in one particular Malay entertainment page on Facebook.

  • But Yuna is not amused. In a message posted on her personal Facebook profile, the singer slammed the parody for using 'blackface' to portray Usher and that the "disrespectful" display could end her career in the US.

  • WHY THIS IS A BIG DEAL: Blackface - a type of theatrical makeup used by non-black performers to portray black people - is offensive towards African-Americans, as it plays on racial stereotypes and downplays black slavery

    • The patronising practice started in the mid-19th century, where white men painted their faces black to portray exaggeratedly comical African-American characters. It's not just a popular performance tradition in the US, the practice also spread to other Western countries such as Britain, Canada, and some European countries.

      Although blackface as a form of entertainment is considered to have ended with the US Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, blackface caricatures still persist in modern day entertainment and is still frequently seen on Asian TV, particularly in Thailand, Japan, and even Taiwan.

  • Even so, some think that Yuna is being overdramatic over the parody, saying that parodies are a dime a dozen on entertainment programmes worldwide and social media

  • But they completely missed the point. Yuna's grief is not with the parody itself, but the fact that it became "racist" because one of its actors used blackface makeup to represent Usher, who is African-American

  • The Malay-language show has since pulled all copies of the video off of its social media channels and issued apologies to Yuna and Usher. It also asked its followers to not share the video.

  • However, despite Yuna and MeleTOP's request for people to stop sharing the video, it still exists on social media via a post from popular Facebook page Kini Trending

  • Yuna has been subjected to countless nasty comments since advancing her career in the US, mostly due to her appearance and behaviour as a Muslim artist in a foreign country

    • Just last month, the singer was widely criticised for hugging Usher onstage following the duo's performance at the The Roots Picnic 2016 concert in New York.

      Responding to the hate, Yuna had this to say: "The biggest racism and discrimination that I've ever faced, was never from the Americans - it was from my own race. There I've said it. They call me 'perempuan sampah' and tell me to ''might as well go naked'. The worst, hurtful & sexist things I've ever had thrown to me, were from the lips of the Malays."

  • Do you think Yuna was overreacting over the 'blackface' parody? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Regardless of the hateful comments, Malaysians have more than enough reason to be proud of Yuna:

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