As is the case around the globe, darker-skinned individuals in the Arab world still suffer from discrimination and ill treatment

The racist rhetoric is notably perpetuated via pop culture, which features performers appearing in blackface, using derogatory language, and  reinforcing false stereotypes. 

Lebanese singer Myriam Fares' latest music video is a case in point. 

On Wednesday, Fares released the music video for her latest track "Goumi" (Get up) and immediately went under fire for appropriating and misrepresenting African culture.

The exotic jungle-themed video features the singer performing in costumes that appear mixed and matched from various countries spanning Africa and Asia, in a failed attempt to give off an "African" feel. She's seen donning a blackface and an afro in multiple scenes.

The video briefly captures people of color, in what has been described as using them as mere "extras."

"Their roles were limited to perpetuating the negative racial 'savage' stereotype, while Myriam's is 'sexy,' 'primitive' and 'exotic,'" writes Lebanese journalist Nadine Mazloum. 

In one scene, Fares appears in a gold mini dress and a turban, with her body painted significantly darker than in other scenes. 

In another scene, she is seen wearing a neck ring - a controversial tool used by Ethnic Kayan women in Myanmar and Thailand to create the optical illusion of long necks, in line with a centuries-old beauty custom.

According to the Huffington Post, women are only allowed to remove the rings once in their lifetimes, on their wedding night, and their removal is painful and could take hours. 

What is blackface and why is it problematic?

Blackface is "a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person."

Its American origins can be traced to minstrel shows in the 19th century, which saw white actors paint their faces with black grease to negatively portray plantation slaves and free darker-skinned individuals.

According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, these performances depicted darker-skinned people "as lazy, ignorant, superstitious, hypersexual, and prone to thievery and cowardice."

This played into racial stereotyping in the American society, where darker-skinned people were systematically mistreated and dehumanized.

While there has been increasing awareness on the matter, blackface and stereotypical portrayals of darker-skinned people continue to plague mass media and pop culture until this very day.

Blackface has appeared on Arab screens on multiple occasions over the years, such as in Egyptian comedy series "Azmi we Ashgan" and Kuwaiti comedy series "Block Ghashmara," both of which were released during Ramadan 2018.

The problem lies in the fact that while non-blacks flaunt blackface in films, magazine covers, and Halloween costumes, darker-skinned individuals  continue to face discrimination in many parts of the world, including Arab countries.

Here's how Twitter users reacted to Fares' video:

People found it appalling

Her fans think she should've known better

"What in the name of cultural appropriation"

50 shades of racism

How come no one on the production team realized it was not OK?

"The director, photographers, crew, dancers, Myriam Fares... No one realized that it's inappropriate for her to paint herself black to depict an African woman? How is this possible?"

"Is it really difficult educating yourself on what is right and wrong?"

Some are calling upon YouTube to block the video

But not everyone found it problematic

If you're still not sure which side of the debate you're on, imagine a foreign culture borrowing yours and misrepresenting it.