On the sidelines of the debate over her handling of Negro cliches


With the spread of gruesome video footage of the murder of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white policeman in the city of Minneapolis, protests pervaded the streets in the country and abroad and, of course, the social media. Faced with this shocking incident, Tania Saleh turned to her accounts on social media to record her condemnation of what was going on. Initially, she published two versions of the song “Strange Fruit” by Nina Simon and Billy Holiday, one of the most popular songs that mimics injustice and persecution. After that, I released an image that showed her with black skin and disheveled hair, after I modified one of the pictures I liked on Pinterest via Photoshop, attached to it with a comment: “All my life, I dreamed of being black … today more than ever … send My love and full support for all who demand equality and justice for all races in the world. ”A post that would have turned the owner of the album “Intersection” into a target for a campaign critical of her work. Reducing the suffering of blacks in color and shape, expressing a right and fundamental issue lightly, romanticizing long suffering that would flatten the political struggle of blacks in the United States, evoking a long history of racist tradition that prevailed in 19th century America known as the Blackface (Black Face – Pat Prohibited today), a type of makeup that typically used black skinned people on theaters and screens … This is a sample of the accusations leveled against Saleh, and it may be right and debatable, in exchange for loud voices criticizing a lot of insult and insult, some of which belong to colleagues of the profession ! This was accompanied by Tania’s demand to remove the problematic post and an apology. However, Tania Saleh did not remove the photo, but rather published a clarification at a later time, in which he said: “I did not paint my face, did not wear strange clothes, and did not offend the black community in the photo I previously shared.” Here, the discussions did not subside but intensified, which many artists have faced in the past years in the Arab world and the world, among them: American actress Zoe Saldana, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares, Lebanese actress Maggie Bou Ghosn, Iraqi actress Maryam Hussein and others.

The Lebanese artist stresses that it is useful to open a discussion about other forms of racism

“Part of the criticism directed at me may be right and its viewers have debatable views, of course, and I have no objection to that, especially in the part related to the intellectual property of the original image that I used and limiting the suffering of blacks to skin color and shape,” says Saleh in an interview with “Al-Akhbar” through video. And she adds that «the problem in this world in which we live today is that all words become unacceptable if they are not included under the category of politically appropriate … Under the control of virtual platforms, we can say that freedom of expression no longer exists … Did the rule become that either We talk in a way that some consider decent or be flogged if we are different? ” In this context, Tania raises an important question for her: “Who decides what is politically correct already in our country?”, And then indicates that “I have several question marks about who leads some campaigns, timing and how they work.”
She stresses that the purpose of the post that has sparked widespread controversy is to solidify with all people and peoples who resist all forms of discrimination and racism: “Truthfully, I, as a musician, have always dreamed of being black … Maybe I made better music, sang and danced in a better way … The closest artists To my heart is of African origin … What if I said that I wish I was Naji Al-Ali, for example? Would I be exposed to the same arrows? ” And unfortunately, the skin has become a habit … and here it is necessary to ask about the extent to which such electronic bullying is considered permissible? She also pointed out that the concept of self-expression, diversity of opinions, and acceptance of the other that you are talking about does not only apply to racism, but also applies to several topics, including feminism, equality, LGBT society, harassment …
In her opinion, the most important thing today is to work to achieve the demands associated with these matters in terms of laws and social practices instead of setting criteria that people must abide by, otherwise they will be translated and atone. There are several factors that govern the way people behave, starting with their way of thinking and their convictions, through the societies in which they grew up to religious and ideological backgrounds … It also considers that it is useful (as I mentioned on Social Media recently) to open a discussion on “racism practiced against Arabs, Jews, Italians and people of Latin origins, Chinese and others in the mainstream media »!
In the end, she cites a column published by Courtland Milloy in the Washington Post in 2019, titled “Figuring out what’s behind the use of blackface could depend on who you ask,” dealing with conflicting opinions about the Blackface today. Speaking of his words, Milloy relies on Duanalin Reyes, curator of music and performing arts at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, who stresses that “the intention of those who resort to Blackface should be taken into account.” Everything for him comes within the context: “Intention is the key. Is Blackface different when blacks use it? Zulu resort to it as part of historical traditions and culture … but the increased sensitivity to the subject will create a rule that applies to all situations … It is difficult to understand when it is acceptable and when it is not, if we do not know the context, history, and tradition behind the situation itself.


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