Renowned Malaysian fashion designer Datuk Seri Bernard Chandran has come under fire for the alleged use of blackface and the Black Lives Matter movement in a recent Instagram post.
Fans and followers of the Kuala Lumpur-based designer are claiming the image is reminiscent of blackface, describing the post as “tone-deaf” and “shameful”.
Social media users have also asked the designer to remove the post and apologise.
Many pointed out that the sought-after designer missed the mark in his attempts to raise awareness of the social justice movement against police brutality and racial prejudice that swept across the US.
“A blackface and a marketing stunt? Expected better from you,” one follower said.
“You have to know that blackface is incredibly racist and problematic dude,” another added.
“Oh come on @bernardchandran. You can and must do better than this tone-deaf and racist nonsense. Hiding behind ‘I’m supporting a cause’ simply does not cut it,” said one user.
Others also commented on the importance of understanding blackface’s racist origins and Jim Crow racial segregation laws which were enacted in the late 19th century and mid-20th century that relegated African Americans to second-class citizens.
The origins of blackface can be traced to minstrel shows in the mid-19th century where white actors would paint their faces black to mock enslaved Africans.
The image which was posted on June 3, made headlines yesterday after Facebook user Abiseshana Mohan took to the social media site to explain why Bernard’s post was problematic.
She called out the designer for using the Black Lives Matter movement to benefit his eponymous label without indicating if proceeds from masks would be donated to the movement nor did he educate the public about the protests.
“This is downright offensive and appalling,” Abiseshana wrote.
“To use the hashtag with no intention of shining light on such pressing issues baffles me and I am so disappointed and disgusted by our ‘Malaysian Icon.’”
She told World of Buzz that her intention isn’t to ‘cancel’ the designer but to highlight the disturbing ignorance of a public figure.
“My intention of posting the Facebook post isn’t to ‘cancel’ him but to point out the disturbing nature of his ignorance in hopes of changing similar actions, by any other Malaysian, in the future,” she said.
A representative of Bernard Chandran told Malay Mail that the fashion designer has no comment on the matter. – MMO