File this under "How NOT to support Black people."
A slew of social media influencers have drawn criticism after their posts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have missed the mark by a mile—by using blackface to show solidarity with Black people.
The posts come from Instagram influencers primarily in Eastern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East and include captions meant to show solidarity with Black people and movements in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and the worldwide protests that have erupted in its wake.
But while the written content of the posts clearly intends to show support, the posts are tone-deaf at best. One shows Lebanese singer Tania Saleh Photoshopped with a cringe-worthy caption that begins:
"I wish I was black."
The comments beneath the post are full of Instagram users decrying the image and caption and imploring Saleh to educate herself on the nature of blackface.
In another post, Algerian artist, actress and singer Souhila Ben Lachhab has painted half of her face and body with dark body paint—half of her in blackface, the other half with her normal skintone.
The cringeworthy caption that accompanies the photo makes an unfortunate comparison between Black skin and the color black as a symbol of evil.
The post prompted one commenter to query:
"What the fu*k is this?"
Given the differences in culture and history in other parts of the world and the obvious motivation of solidarity in the posts, it seems likely that the influencers in question simply do not know the deeply offensive, racist history of blackface, which originated in 19th-century minstrel shows intended to mock and degrade Black people and culture for supposedly comedic effect.
To combat this, widely popular Polish artist and influencer Saint Hoax, who has over two million followers, created a compilation of some of the offensive posts along with a visual history of blackface and its bigoted origins.
You can see the full content by clicking on the right arrow on their post.
On Twitter and Instagram, many users were similarly angered by these ignorant attempts at solidarity.
A few social media users pointed out in response to Saint Hoax's post that in the parts of the world where many of these influencers live, the history of blackface is not widely known.
But being made aware of that history did not seem to have much of an impact on many of the influencers.
Many have refused to delete their posts, like the aforementioned singer Tania Saleh, who gave an angry statement defending her blackface photo.
"I have posted this with love and I will not remove it despite all your offensive comments."
Her post, like many others called out for blackface, remains live as of this writing. if the people you're claiming you support ask you not to do something in their name, are you truly supporting them or your own ego and self interests?