Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Racist Lil' Rimi Sen

Lord have mercy...
[Thank you tanya for ringing the alarm on little memsaab!]

It appears Bollywood actress Rimi Sen pulled a snottier- than- her- career- should- possibly- allow comment out of her crack during an interview with Glamsham AND the folks at Glamsham thought that it was "fit to print" without disclaimers or explanation. In the end, they simply snatched the interview off the site as if it never happened. (Nice try. It's already all over the internet.)

Last week, when Rimi Sen said in an interview on Golmaal that, “Rohit Shetty is amazing as a director. He can make even a black African look pretty,” little did she realise she would be stirring a hornet’s nest. [Link]
What's up with India's obsession with lightness? I guess it's so ingrained that no one thought a statement implying that [all] black people are ugly is inappropriate or flat out inaccurate. Amazing! If you're not in the know, you really should check out the ad for Light & Lovely here. It's rather frightening. [I know things aren't perfect here in the U.S. but an ad like that would be snatched off the airwaves in 5 seconds if it even made it on TV in the first place. I mean, who wants Al Sharpton to show up at their door with that bad s-curl?]

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those commercials are so gross.

- Rachel

Anonymous said...

I'm African American, and when I think about it, Ambi skintone cream and all of the other so-called "fading creams" were really skin bleachers...I know that skin bleachers are popular in certain parts of Africa, and in the beauty supply stores here in New York, you can still find a wide assortment of them. Sad but true :(
ALL colors are beautiful, but unfortunately not everyone believes this is so.

Velu Nair said...

The Fair & Lovely ad has been around for ages, and the kind of fair-skin-propoganda that it puts forward has been opposed by many on the Indian soil as well.

and not just the F&L ad, there are any number of ad campaigns that promise a fair skin on TV. i guess its just a handful of people out there like me, who prefer Nandita Das over Aishwarya Rai.

:)

Anonymous said...

Here is an article about bleaching in Africa. http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0204,chisholm,31703,1.html
This kind of nonsense is also popular in Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan as well.(link)
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/05/01/news/skin.php
Women!!!!Altogether now,
We must! We must! Decrease skin lightening lust!!

Anonymous said...

yeah, it's really sad that that kind of bs is just taken for granted and is accepted in Indian media....it really makes my blood boil....

unfortunately such an attitude is all too widespread...it stinks...and it feels like those of us who actually can smell are in the minority.

The Technophobic Geek said...

The sadder part than the actual comment is that this is treated as such a no-brainer by most Indians, of both older and younger generations: I mean, the 'fact' that African people are not beautiful.

Sadly, things like this go both ways. In my 6 years in the US, the only time I had to experience in-your-face racism is when a sista walked away from me at a club after asking me what 'color' I was, and finding out I was neither black nor latino.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the comments Miss Sen said were not particularly 'PC'. But then look at Miss Sen herself in comparison to Beyonce? or Halle Berry or Rihanna?

Miss Sen is a dog in comparison to the lovely beauties above.

Not trying to be mean- but as an Indian raised in the West- I am getting sick and tired of the bullshit comments coming from the likes of Miss Sen.

She is an idiot. Obviously, her intelligence is questioned. Dont think she is very smart at all. Only thing she might be very clever in - would be determing how many shades dark is someone or light....

Anonymous said...

I've never met or seen a "black African" that looks remotely like Beyonce, Halle Berry, or Rihanna. Maybe in South Africa, but there they are called "coloreds"...

Sadly, I don't think Americans celebrate the "black African" look as beautiful any more than Indians or anyone else does. The black actresses in the US who are celebrated for their beauty barely look African at all.

Anonymous said...

"I've never met or seen a "black African" that looks remotely like Beyonce, Halle Berry, or Rihanna. Maybe in South Africa, but there they are called "coloreds"...

Sadly, I don't think Americans celebrate the "black African" look as beautiful any more than Indians or anyone else does. The black actresses in the US who are celebrated for their beauty barely look African at all."---such a narrow minded comment.


What exactly does a black african look like?I'm guessing your not black or african.My mother who is,is lighter in skin shade than Beyonce.Black Africans are a diverse people,they come in different shades and have different features,just like asians,latinos and even white people.

I actually also disagree that Americans don't celebrate the black african look.Alek Wek is a huge supermodel,and has been revered for years for her 'exotic,powerful' look.If you are a model of colour it has been proven that you're most likely to get work in
America of all places.

Also,what sad is she probably wasn't talking about blacks expressly out of africa,I'd bet my money on her comment being about black people in general.I personally don't care because she's talking cr.ap,but all I'm trying to say is black people ,even from africa look different.

renx

Anonymous said...

It is true what another anonymous said, The so called American Blacks like beyonce and others are not like black Africans at all.
It appears the Blacks are always promoted in Western media above other races to make them look desirable? why?

afr1qn said...

It's sad how little people know of Africa that they make statements like "Beyonce doesn't look like anyone in Africa"...umm what?

In Africa she wouldn't even be that beautiful either, nonetheless many Africans share her skin tone and unfortunately long nose.

Anonymous said...

"It appears the Blacks are always promoted in Western media above other races to make them look desirable? why?"

...and what planet do you come from?

Anonymous said...

Well what does a particular race look like? For Indians, me being one myself, people in the west always say that Indians are very dark, short, black hair with caucasian features. What a load of bullocks!

Indians like every other race comes in different shapes, colours, sizes and looks.

You take off all the makeup from Rimi Sen's face and I bet ya - she aint that pretty.

As for bleach creams- India is known for 'Fair and Lovely'. Everyone there is just so obsessed which is pretty f**ked up.

Anonymous said...

well am not racist am a light skin latino.. i have never seen a dark black american beautiful beyonce looks mix , halle berry, too, am sorry but black are not very beautiful people soo am not agains rimi sen i think she is right now a days makeup and other stuff even make black africans seen pretty

Sandip said...

Yes, I read abt this when it happened here. And the local press rightly gave it to her. Dumb bimbette!! And surprisingly she is quite dark herself - hardly the peaches and cream complexion. I'm really excited about the new actress from Om Shanti Om as she is a real dusky beauty. In fact I wud say there are many more women with dark compelxion than earlier in the Hindi film industry and modeling fraternity.

Anonymous said...

To the guy who said that many black people are not very beautiful, this is totally racist and untrue. And why does everyone pick on black people anyway. Many Indians or Latinos regardless of their skin color are not attractive. This is also true of white people or Asians.

Ugliness transcends race and geography as does beauty. The problem is that the media shows limited standards of beauty and they always try to put down black people. I have seen many people from Africa who are beautiful. I have seen many beautiful Asians and some not so beautiful Asians.

Also why is Beyonce and Halley Berry always touted as representatives for black beauty? I don't think Beyonce is that beautiful and Halley Berry got plastic surgery on her nose, cheeks and eyes to enhance her looks. The same with a lot of Caucasian actresses in Hollywood and probably Bollywood too. Check out goodplasticsurgery.com if you don't believe me.

I think people who come form Third World Countries have low self esteem because they live in poverty and squalor with no chance for advancement. They dislike themselves and just want to bring other people of color down with them.

Anonymous said...

bipasha basu is dark but she's gorgeous...!! rimi sen, you may have fair skin but you sure have a black heart.

Anonymous said...

"well am not racist am a light skin latino.. i have never seen a dark black american beautiful"

Wow, are you sure you are "Latino" or are you "Mexican" because Africans are more populous in South America than in North America actually. And Afro-Latinos have single handedly shaped your "Latino" culture buddy, from music, to food, to history, to independence. And although they may be marginalized in Latin America, Norht America and around the world, African beauty is pure beauty and that cannot be denied. Everyone wants fuller lips, thicker hair, whiter teeth, nice body shape, sense of humor, and this is what Black people and Africans have. That is beauty right there.

Anonymous said...

It's not that Indians think dark skin is ugly - they just think that it's not "ideal". Basically, having a light, even, tanned/yellowish brown skin (not too dark and not too light) is seen as the perfect skin tone in modern Indian societies - even skin tone that's too light isn't seen as ideal. I suppose it's like a blonde dying her hair darker to look more "sophiscated"... it's personal choice, not racism.

PS: Riya Sen and Bipasha Basu have dark skin and one of the most beautiful women in the world!

PPS: Indian subcontinental people, culture, history and traditions are the greatest, the most richest and the most beautiful in the world!!!

lakeesha m johnson :-{} said...

what's up with black people's obsession with straight hair? more black people are relaxing their hair or wearing weaves than (asian) indians [slightly] lightening their skin tone.

as a black woman speaking (half nigerian, half antiguan), i can't help feeling that we are the least desirable people on earth (and i think it's because of our body shape and size than our skin color). i was surprised to learn how many so called "black" celebrities are actually mixed raced (with hispanics, whites and asians) - could this have contributed to their beauty? i can't think of many beautiful celebrities who are 100% black. i have been reading your blog for almost a week and i am new to bollywood or anything indian. i am surprised to learn that a third world country (india) is THIS advanced and can make very well-made movies. the culture and people are also very pretty. but africa (except north african/arab africans) and carribeans (expcept indian descended carribeans) isn't very beautiful and advanced and the traditions is not very nice too. the black african western culture is really bad too - kids wanting to be basketball players and rappers when they grow up, inner-city gangs, women's hoochie clothes, very young unmarried women sleeping around and getting pregnant and they don't know who got them pregnant and the men doesn't want to look after their baby, ugly colorful weaves, terrible accents and speech (eg "y'all" and "it don't matter"), lack of the desire to have an education, ugly hip hop style clothes, ugly diamond grills etc. i wish i can say that i am black n proud, but then i would be a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

In hollywood, many celebrities of African American descent get plastic surgery (as someone above pointed out) to get rid of their tell-tale noses, and go for a more slim 'caucasian' look. This is why most (but not all) are not representative of beauty in Africa, and I'm sure most women there don't get their noses altered.

I think the 'white' obsession and to some degree in Africa from British and European empirialism, and the 'blue vien' ideal (fairness is associated with class b/c it means you don't have to labour under the sun - this was centuries ago). Years later this idea of 'fair is beautiful' is normalized, and people associate fairness with beauty without even really thinking about why this is considered to be true! Most Bollywood actress use skin bleach and makeup to lighten their skin, although lately the 'tanned' look has been getting some momentom as well. Its sad really, considering that a large percentage of the Indian population is dark skinned, and no one really knows the long term effects of skin whitening. Its superficial and absurd, and I hope people their realize how ridiculus their theory is!

On a side note, i also think its funny how in the US and Canada, white people spend so much money on tanning products, although its nowhere close to the Indian obession of fair skin. also its easier to get tanned skin, than trying to lighten skin!

Yes, Rimi Sen is very ignorant, and clearly not a very smart cookie, esp considering that her skin tone is on the darker side!

Anonymous said...

Lakeesha, judging by your comment, you seem young - one day, when you're older, you'll appreciate your heritage and your physical appearance... you wouldn't have the time to think about these things anyway. If you're interested in a culure different to your own (in this case, Indian), there should be no reason why you can't delve deeper and experience it first-hand.

Anonymous said...

more black people are obsessed with straightening their hair and more white people are obsessed with tanning their skin than there are indians obsessed with lightening their skin. only a handful of people in India lighten their skin in comparison to black and white people and their obsession, yet people keep picking on indians! apparently, tanning skin and relaxing hair is related to hair & beauty, but lightening skin is racism.... why isn't tanning skin an insult to white people? those few indians don't whiten their skin, they lighten it to a light golden brown color like white people darkening their skin to a same tone - i guess it's seen as an intenationally ideal skin tone... light brown.

i believe beyonce is sporting blonde hair lately. you should take a look at your own race before you pick on another!

Anonymous said...

"I guess it's so ingrained that no one thought a statement implying that [all] black people are ugly is inappropriate or flat out inaccurate" .... it's an OPINION ¬ you can't say an opinion on the level of beauty is inaccurate! it's HER opinion! don't pick on a whole nation because of what she said - it's prejudice!

Anonymous said...

She didn't imply that all black africans are ugly, she implied that a black african isn't beautiful. Just because she thinks black africans aren't beautiful doesn't mean that she is racist - racism is hatred against a race, and her opinion about how beautiful or ugly a certain race is ISN'T hatred.

t-hype said...

I wrote this post nearly two years ago so I really don't have the energy to address the silly comments that have shown up in the past few days. I will however advise that future commenters look up the definition of racist and racism BEFORE making comments. Start here and spare everyone the repetitive (non)arguments.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Such people should sit down and think for a second, are you not black in the eyes of a white person?? Just because you are brown and few shades lighter than an African, you think you are prettier, excuse me??? Such a dumb comment. And someone go and tell her that she is not pretty from any angle black or white so next time she opens her mouth she should think twice.
Man, Indians frustrate me so much sometimes with their gora kaala comment not realising that they are kaala too.

Anonymous said...

I'll level with you folk. I am of Pakistani heritage, and the common perception outside your own race is that the Black look isnt attractive. Its not the color, its the large lips, flat noses and unique hair.

Universally straight noses and hair is regarded as attractive. Those Blacks many people hold up are partially non black or have some admixture of genes.

This is how most people think.

Anonymous said...

I do not think this is about colour alone but also about facial features. The unfortunate fact is the African look is not very popular in Asia. I remember seeing a cricket match with West Indian players on TV while my mom and her friends were having a tea party. Most women commented about how ugly black people are. It did make me a bit angry (I love Brian Lara) but I guess people are entitled to their opinion. Once my cousin sister from my mothers side (who comes from a small town in India where western influence has been traditionally rare) saw a video of a black rap star (I believe Snoop Dogg and R Kelly) and commented how ugly these black guys were. On another occasion when she saw a video of Scottish children singing ‘Skye Boat Song’ remarked how beautiful the Whites children looked as if they were angels according to her. She is small and goes to upper KG or is about 5 years old. And she already finds Europeans beautiful and Africans ugly. At one time my cousin sister (from my father’s side this time who is about 13 years old) was teasing my other cousin sister that she will have an ugly black husband which made her mad. When I told them that in America I had seen White men and women dating blacks, they could not believe it. They were shocked.

t-hype said...

There are very few intelligent comments being left at this point (aside from the last one) so I haven't bothered to comment recently.

I will only say this, people who are used to only being around one type of people, (be they black, white or indian) are the first ones to make comments about entire populations of other people with whom they have the least interaction. It never ceases to amaze me!

I hope the readers of this blog are better than that and I hope that they'll encourage the people around them to be better than that.

I may not be desi, but I don't let it slide when people make broad sweeping negative statements about Indian people. It's one thing if you don't like the guy at the convenience store, but don't pretend for one second he represents every Indian person!

This conversation is getting stale. Hold on to your prejudices if you wish. Just don't bring them near me. Case closed.