As protests broke out in the U.S., where thousands took to the streets to condemn killings of black people at the hands of police and to demand reform, celebrities all over the world starting raising their voice in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Recently, Zara Noor Abbas came under fire on Instagram where she had posted a video of a little African-American girl who was talking about the discrimination her community has had to face, on the basis of her skin colour.
When someone called her out for protesting racism globally on the one hand and endorsing a face whitening wash locally on the other, the actor was quick to defend herself.
"Good, because that does not promote killing. Does not promote racism. Stop making this out of context when its not the agenda. Your word doesn't matter here. What matters is human life and equality and this is what I am here for. A face wash is killing no one," justified Zara.
What Zara fails to understand is that by promoting skin whitening products, she is feeding into the negative stereotypes about dark skin and reinforcing dated beauty standards like fair skin is superior and aspirational. These ads are marketed with big money through mass media and shape and influence culture more than we'd like to admit. Are we really going to pretend colourism isn't a big issue in our society?
Your activism feels disingenuous when you refuse to have a civil discussion about how you might be wrong; it's 2020, and we can only hope public figures realise the damaging ramifications of their choices, hold themselves accountable and strive to do better.
You can watch the advertisement here.