The worst part of the Coldplay video isn’t Beyonce’s outfit (costume), or the underuse of Sonam (I mean come on), it’s the part where the band are getting lovingly showered in colourful dust by a group of laughing brown kids.
It made my skin crawl. It’s like ‘a white man gets off on how ‘exotic’ India is’. Look how much fun the little brown kids are having! Ha ha ha! Bless them! So colourful and exotic! See how they fawn over us, the white tourists! See how they adore and embrace us with their quirky culture!!!
It could not be any clearer that these poor kids were decoration. Or that Coldplay/the makers of this video think of India as this super cool colourful quirky exotic place where everyone dances in the street chucking colourful dust over white tourists. Like they have nothing better to do.
And then the fact that the dude was in the cinema watching a film and instead of watching Sonam Kapoor, actual Bollywood actress on the big screen, the focus is instead on Beyonce dressed up as a desi woman, and all these Indian people are sitting in the cinema supposedly lapping it up! Just the way it is directed with everyone looking up at her with wonder makes my stomach turn. If that scene had had Coldplay dude staring up in admiration at Sonam doing what she does best it would have been okay, but apparently even in India you can’t have an actual Indian star on the screen?
People will argue that it’s appreciation and not appropriation, but I disagree. If it was appreciation, you would have Beyonce and Coldplay dude APPRECIATING India, not trying to be the centre of attention, having brown kids fawning over them, not having Beyonce apparently being stared at in awe by actual Indian people as she appropriates another culture.
And I LOVE Beyonce, but this is the first time in my life that seeing her in a music video has made me feel ill.
So yeah, as someone who is desi, this video does feel pretty uncomfortable for me, but it’s actually less Beyonce and her ‘costume’ but the premise of the video itself which seems to use India as a prop, as decoration, while pushing aside actual Indian people.
Before “Lucy,” Ball did dramas like 1942’s “The Big Street,” musicals such as 1943’s “Best Foot Forward,” in which she unveiled her new look as a redhead, and even film noirs like “The Dark Corner” with Clifton Webb. But the seeds of Lucy Ricardo began to bloom in the late 1940s, when she started to do several feature comedies such as 1949’s “Sorrowful Jones,” 1950’s “Fancy Pants” with Bob Hope and 1949’s “Miss Grant Takes Richmond.”
She also starred in her first radio show, “My Favorite Husband,” from 1948-51, in which she played Liz Cooper, a happily married middle-class housewife. Ball worked on the radio series with writers Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Pugh and Jess Oppenheimer, who penned countless of the “Lucy” episodes.
Arnaz said that once her mother understood she had the power to make people laugh, “she realized, ‘This is what I am supposed to be doing.’ When she hit gold, there was no turning back. She didn’t want to prove herself as a dramatic actress. She said, 'I found the Lucy character’ and said, 'This is what I am."Lucie Arnaz.
People my whole life have made fun of me for embracing Indian culture, even other Indian students. After the 5th grade, I never even wanted to be seen in public in Indian clothes, or even wearing a bindi. But then I thought, you know what? Screw that. Screw everyone who mocks culture, and me and my other Indian friends decided to wear saris/chudidars for our 12th grade senior graduation. All my friends, my teachers and all the other seniors had nothing negative to say about us that night, and honestly, it was the most liberating I’ve ever felt. :) :)
p.s. That’s me in the green-ish brown translucent sari. The pictures aren’t very high quality, sorry about that, but I looked amazing, and so did all my friends.
Thank you for looking out for us and defending our culture when you thought it was being appropriated, but please calm down, because in this case it’s not necessary. Most of you who are getting offended are not at all Indian or Southern Asian. Bey is not Indian—we know that and so does she—but she would not willingly wear Indian-inspired clothing if she believed she was appropriating it, because she knows how that feels. Although, I can see why people would still be offended by her wearing Indian inspired clothing at all, because it wasn’t necessary for her to do so. However, “Hymn for the Weekend” was directed by someone who is Indian, the Indian-inspired clothes Beyonce was wearing were also made by an Indian designer, and the video was actually filmed in India. If any of the people who were Indian were uncomfortable with having Bey wear the clothes that she did in the video, they wouldn’t have let her wear them, and she wouldn’t have asked if she could either, she was given permission.
Honestly, I loved the music video, because it mainly focused on how beautiful and vibrant and colorful our culture is. And if you actually read the comments on Youtube, you’ll see a ton of comments from non-Indian people that complement our culture, as well as tons of positive feedback coming from Indian people. It showed Indian children running around and dancing in the streets of Mumbai, smiling as they celebrate Holi (festival of colors). There was no whitewashing or harsh Indian stereotypes involved. The singers showed nothing but respect and appreciation for my culture. Unlike Iggy Azalea’s music video “Million Dollar Dream” in which she was the primary focus, probably 20% of the four and a half minute music video showed Coldplay and Bey (Sonam Kapoor makes a cameo as well), the rest of the video was about India and her people!
I don’t know how to identity any more. I mean I am mixed race, half Indian, desi, biracial, all of those things, but I’m having troubles with the other stuff.
Do I call myself a WOC?
Because until recently I would have said I was probably a white passing woman of colour, because of my racial background and the fact that online I usually, if not always, pass for white.
But now I am not sure? Can I identify as a light skinned woman of colour?
Because very recently I posted some unedited selfies in normal light of my face without make up and I got lots and lots of racist abuse. I got sent all sorts of things related to me being Indian. Some of them were saying I don’t ‘pass’ for white anyway and that I never have. And I’m not bringing them up because they hurt me, because I am used to receiving hate online, but I’ve been thinking, and in a way I’ve realised that I’m not as white passing as I thought?
I’ve never hidden my racial make up, obviously, because I’m proud of it, but I have been calling myself white passing when really that probably isn’t the case. Having spoken to people around me in real life about it they think it’s pretty obvious that I’m not white and a fair few say they can see that I’m Indian. It’s just that online I obviously lighten my videos and pictures sometimes because my bedroom is so dark.
So I think I am going to refer to myself as a light skinned WOC. And I know there’s a lot of privilege there because I am not dark skinned, but in a way I think before I was scared of owning that part of me in case I took away from other groups. But now I am more comfortable with who I am and the way I look and I know that to own my own racial background won’t be to the detriment of anyone else.
So anyway, this is me basically telling you how I think I now want to identify. I also want to stop lightening my videos if I can. I’m not sure how I can get better light so I won’t have to do this, but I’ll find a way somehow. My skin isn’t white. I look Indian. I should own it.
If anyone asks me to ever teach them to make “naan bread”, I’ll invite then over to my house, bake their faces into a thick ass dry bread until their lives become naanexistent and casually laugh until they realise that naan bread is as real as chai tea, which again, if you ask for, I will pour you your own bloody tears and hope you drown in them.