A Kuwaiti beauty influencer is under fire after posting several images on Instagram in blackface.
Ghadeer Sultan is a professional makeup artist and salon owner with 2 million followers on Instagram. Typically, her posts feature glamour shots of her makeup looks and outfits.
But she recently posted a video that's caused a big stir: a re-creation of "We Are the World," the 1985 charity song featuring by USA for Africa. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the hit featured celebrity singers like Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, and Ray Charles.
The song was remade with a new batch of celebrities in 2010 in tribute to Haiti, which was devastated that year by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
The audio of the 2010 version appears in Sultan's video, which features her in a variety of wigs and skin tones — including makeup that darkened her skin tone to make her look black.
"No matter where you are from or what you believe in, we are all children of this world, and we all share it together equally," she wrote in the video's caption. "Beauty comes in all shapes and colors, so lets love each other and celebrate our unity."
Commenters swiftly called her out.
"This is the most offensive thing i’ve seen. You can portray togetherness without disrespecting an entire culture. So uneducated, this is beyond unnecessary and unacceptable," one person wrote.
"Was it so hard to hire a black model instead of doing black face? It’s 2020 and yet the only thing i could see here is the lack of awareness and education on a very sensitive topic. Black face is racist," another wrote.
Sultan, who has not responded to BuzzFeed News' request for comment, saw the criticism but didn't back down.
She has now posted two stills of herself in the dark makeup.
"I am not racist .. I hate racism," she wrote on the second image. "What I’ve done is only to show what i am capable of... I love you all. Life is meant for living... living with love and passion for every one without thinking of what they are could really change your life .... Think 2020 and live with passion for all peoples."
That sparked a new slew of comments calling Sultan out and asking her to reconsider her actions.
"I don’t know what you are thinking but this is NOT okay. Blackface isn’t a skill that can be acquired to show your 'capability.' Please take time to understand where people are coming from instead of defending yourself right away. This is an act of racism, whether you mean it or not," one commenter said.