Priyanka Chopra attends the Cannes Film Festival
Photo: Getty

People around the globe have joined the Black Lives Matter movement to stand in solidarity with the George Floyd protestors in the United States. However, a number of Indian starlets are coming under fire on social media for calling out racism after endorsing facial “whitening” creams.

Branded “hypocrites”, Bollywood celebrities including Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Disha Patanare have been called out for both actively perpetuating colourism and profiting off an multi billion-dollar skin lightening industry.

This comes after the resurfacing of a Garnier advert Priyanka faced to promote their ‘Light Ultra fairness and dark spots reduction cream’.

Fans and critics alike deemed that A-list celebrities who choose to endorse these products only further perpetuate the notion that “fair skin is more beautiful”. “I understand that colorism is a different issue. It doesn’t sit right with me that back home one promotes fairness creams while speaking about how all colors are beautiful. Its opportunistic”, said one twitter user. Twitter users also called out Chopra for remaining silent on issues that pertain to violence and discrimination in her own country, India.

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“It’s not that their views can’t change or that they shouldn’t speak up for what they want, it’s about selective and performative activism especially when they have at some point propagated a colorist attitude in their own country”, said one Twitter user.

She received additional criticism on Wednesday after her husband, American singer Nick Jonas, posted a thread vowing that the couple would take a stand against “systemic racism, bigotry and exclusion.” The post was met with a slew of negative comments.

Priyanka has in the past, shunned Indian stereotypes in the media even saying that The Simpson’s “Abu” was the “ bane of her life” growing up, during a 2018 interview with ABC’s The View, referring to the character’s one-dimensional, hyperbole nature of Indian tropes.

The former Quantico actress and her husband Nick Jonas have also donated to the Equal Justice Initiative and the ACLU to help fight systemic racism.

Related Article: Priyanka Chopra Jonas Shares Her Fight For Greater Inclusivity And Diversity

Similarly, Sonam Kapoor, who has also been the brand ambassador for L’Oréal cosmetics and had endorsed several “skin lightening” creams including one which read “White Perfect” with the subsequent tagline “Pearl perfect fairness”.

But on June 5th, she quoted on Instagram saying in part that one shouldn’t stay silent in situations like these. “I will do my best to use my platform and my voice to do the best of my ability. We take responsibility now”.

Disha Patani and Deepika Padukone as well have had their fair share of promoting “fair” skin for Pond’s and Garnier respectively but it’s not just women. Bollywood’s leading men have also faced many a Fair And Handsome campaign with Shahrukh Khan choosing to remain silent on the matter.

Some however, felt it was unfair to call into question the motives of others and instead chose to applaud celebrities using their platform to promote a meaningful cause like Black Lives Matter.

Related Article: Priyanka Chopra Criticised For Response After Being Called A “Hypocrite”