A beauty influencer is under fire for sharing photos of herself in blackface to social media.
Set to a 2010 rendition of “We Are The World,” Sultan sports several different looks using wigs and makeup, altering her skin tone several times to appear darker. Intercut with footage of Mary J. Blige and Barbra Streisand singing, Sultan pretends to sing while posing for the camera before spray painting “We R the world” on a backdrop.
“No matter where you are from or what you believe in, we are all children of this world, and we all share it together equally,” she captioned the post. “Beauty comes in all shapes and colours, so lets love each other and celebrate our unity. I love you all, Happy New Year.”
Sultan received backlash almost immediately from her more than two million followers, who urged her to remove the “disgusting” video.
“This is extremely racist and ignorant...” one follower wrote. “Blackface is universally unacceptable. If your aim for this video was to be inclusive, you should have [included] models of different colours and ethnicities.”
“This is wrong,” another told Sultan. “Even if the intention is right, you shouldn’t have done this.”
The makeup artist and salon owner shared a follow-up post of herself in blackface, prompting further outrage from her followers.
“Take what we’re saying into consideration and delete this. It is indeed racist,” commented one user. “Blackface has a long history of being offensive toward black people and we are not happy.”
Sultan, instead of offering an apology, uploaded a third post to Instagram.
“I am not racist...I hate racism,” she wrote in her caption. “What I’ve done is only to show what I am capable of...I love you all. Life is meant for living...Living with love and passion for everyone without thinking of what they are could really change your life. Think 2020 and live with passion for all peoples [sic].”
Sultan’s photos have attracted international attention, which some have argued was the intention all along.
“Y’all ‘influencers’ are so self-obsessed that even when supposedly preaching for inclusivity, you’d still rather be in blackface just to be the centre of attention rather than actually [use] your platform to showcase real racial diversity in the Middle East,” one person wrote to Sultan. “What a joke.”