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Racism Row: Beyonce’s reference cut from Bollywood song

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A song from an upcoming Bollywood film has been rewritten after social media users criticized the original lyrics as racist for glorifying fair skin and making an inappropriate reference to black American pop star Beyonce.

The offensive lyrics, which translated as “ After looking at your blonde wife Beyonce would feel shy, ” appeared in a song from a movie called Khaali Peeli, which director Maqbool Khan quickly apologized for.

“(The) lyrics in question were never racistically conceived,” Khan said in a statement Monday, adding that the directors of the film were big fans of Beyonce and meant no disrespect.

“The term ‘goriya’ (blonde woman in Hindi) has been so often and traditionally used in Indian songs to address a girl that it has never occurred to us to interpret it literally.” , he added.

A new version of the song, which drops the controversial line, is now available on music streaming apps, a spokesperson for the film said.

India’s film industry is often accused of fueling the country’s obsession with fair skin and prejudice against darker faces, and the issue attracted closer scrutiny during the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year when Bollywood actors have spoken out against racism.

Campaigners have welcomed criticism on Twitter of the song’s lyrics. They said it was a rare challenge for Bollywood song lyrics and fairness-to-beauty dialogue that showed greater awareness of discrimination.

“It is nothing new that Bollywood has endorsed this trend, but I’m glad people have responded. Ten years ago, they wouldn’t have done it, ”said Kavitha Emmanuel, founder of India’s Dark Is Beautiful advocacy campaign.

“It’s very sad that after so much awareness we have a song like this today,” she added, comparing it to Beyonce’s new visual album, Black is King, released in July. .

The album celebrates black culture and features music videos celebrating the search for identity and black beauty.

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