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An Open Letter to Priyanka Chopra on Why Black Lives Matter

4 min read

Dear Priyanka,

So, you believe Black lives matter, right?

To start, I don’t think it’s surprising that I would find the motive of a woman who is synonymous with the endorsement of skin bleaching creams screaming “Black Lives Matter” over social media pretty sketchy, right? But, Priyanka, let’s say I am to do my duty as a good Muslim and give you the benefit of the doubt in this instance and assume that your outrage is genuine, could you do me a favour and clarify a few points of contention for me? 

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet under the guise of patriotism, you encourage nuclear war between India and Pakistan, which would result in tens of millions of casualties and millions of deaths on both sides of the border.

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet you have been deathly silent on the human rights violations of the people of Kashmir under the Indian government as well as the torturous conditions that they are forced to endure, some of which include grievous assault, detention, rape, murder, censorship, media and internet blackout and military rule.

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet the voices of fellow women of colour who place themselves in vulnerable positions in order to hold you accountable for behaviour that is harmful to their communities are met with censorship, dismissal, and gaslighting.

[Read Related: Dear Priyanka Chopra, Endorsing Colorism and Discrimination is not ok. It Never was and Never Will Be]

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet you are more than happy to cash multiple cheques by promoting harmful skin bleaching creams that are depositing mercury into bodies of people of colour and even causing cancer, not to mention that endorsing these products directly contradicts the tenets of the very race war you have claimed to champion by pushing eurocentric beauty standards.

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet you (again) choose to feed into eurocentric ideals by shapeshifting your accent from South Asian to American dependent on your audience, thus whitewashing your culture to curry favour and position yourself as a ‘palatable’ person of colour to white audiences.

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet you signed on to star in a show that perpetuated the problematic narrative of Brown-skinned men as terrorists — you also chose to do this in a country (USA) where this particular form of bigotry is excessively held. 

You believe Black Lives Matter Priyanka, yet you remain silent on the persecution of Muslims in India but are all too happy to throw on a hijab to play the role of a Muslim when it suits you. You have no issue calling out Trump for Islamophobia because it’s trendy among liberal American celebrities but will say absolutely nothing (again) about the same widespread abuse occurring in your home country when Modi and his cabinet perpetrate the same Islamophobic offences.

[Read Related: Ayesha Malik Talks Priyanka Chopra Confrontation at Beautycon and Reveals Full Question]

I’ve gotta say, from the outside, it looks a hell of a lot like the only black lives that matter to you are those of your celebrity friends and your own. The (very) many people who see your behaviour as hypocritical can’t all be wrong. I know playing the role of the cool friend of colour that’s down with bigotry is a tempting carrot to bite into, and I too, unfortunately, have taken a few nibbles in my lifetime but it’s not worth it — don’t do it any longer, spit that damn thing out of your mouth and RUN! Run for your people!

You have achieved immense success in your lifetime and I have no doubt that you will go on to achieve more — I do however implore you to humble yourself and realise that your actions, though less direct than the killer of George Floyd, are no less problematic or dangerous. Activism should never be weaponized as a PR stunt.

I need you to admit that you are a part of the problem and to educate yourself on how to behave as an ally in these spaces for your own people and every other marginalised minority. I also encourage you to suspend your occupation of the role as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador until you have gained the necessary education and level of empathy necessary to hold such an office. Lastly, where feminism is concerned, I implore you to take some advice from someone I know that you hold in the highest esteem, yourself, and use the advice you gave in ELLE in your own practice;

“You know, it’s the dialogue and conversation that matters. Stand up for women around you, the women in your lives, whether it’s your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, whatever.”

Sincerely,

Aisha Playton


The opinions expressed by the writer of this piece, and those providing comments thereon (collectively, the “Writers”), are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Brown Girl Magazine, Inc., or any of its employees, directors, officers, affiliates, or assigns (collectively, “BGM”). BGM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Writers. It is not the intention of Brown Girl Magazine to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. If you have a complaint about this content, please email us at [email protected] This post is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. If you’d like to submit a guest post, please follow the guidelines we’ve set forth
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7 Comments

  • Avatar
    Anonymous
    Why are you so focused on one celebrity’s actions? Would you ask the same of Kim Kardashian or any other celebrity? You clearly are biased on Indian government actions whereas the harmful and violent actions of Pakistani government are largely ignored. Why are Hindus not allowed in Pakistan? What have they done to better the treatment of kashmiri residents? Your one sided view shows your ignorance.
  • Avatar
    Aisha Playton
    Salaam Anonymous, No, I do care about the inaction of other people in positions of power and privilege. My focus on Priyanka is due to the fact that she, far more than others, is blatantly hypocritical where these all of the above mentioned issues are concerned. Perhaps I am biased towards Pakistan, I am not in a position to really make that kind of judgement right off the bat, although I would find that bizarre given the fact that I am of Indian ancestry. I’ll definitely consider that point with time to see if there is any merit to what you’ve said. My reasoning for pointing out the actions of the Indian government, is because Priyanka is Indian herself and has justified many of their harmful, fascist and bigoted policies. This in no way negates the harmful actions of the Pakistani government, theirs are just not pertinent in this instance. I must say, however, that although both Pakistan and India have handled the situation in relation to Kashmir terribly, in my view, India has been far more egregious in this instance. In response to the fact that Hindus are not allowed in Pakistan, I don’t agree with that policy either, just as I don’t agree with the Indian government moving to strip Indian Muslims of their citizenship. I probably am ignorant in some ways with regard to this matter, but in fairness, we all are. That’s why it is our duty to call eachother out when we see one another going astray. That is sincerely my purpose in writing this letter — I know that Priyanka is a smart woman, and that she is capable of behaviour better than that which she has been perpetuating for decades. I hope others would do the same for me if I were ever in her position. Thank you for your feedback xx
  • Avatar
    Abduraouph
    Slmz Aisha, I fully agree with you article and your feedback to anonymous. It hits the nail on the head and honestly it resonates with so so many of us. Hopefully in time India and Pakistan can work together but i think to change a countries perception it should start with the individuals therein as opposed to just the governments involvement. Maybe I am ignorant for thinking that way... Anyways, thanks for the article and keep well.
  • […] [Read Related: An Open Letter to Priyanka Chopra on why Black Lives Matter] […]
  • Avatar
    I totally concur with all you've said ..and I also believe Priyanka is a smart woman
  • […] [Read Related: An Open Letter to Priyanka Chopra on why Black Lives Matter] […]
  • Avatar
    Anonymous
    Someone commented “Why are Hindus not allowed in Pakistan?” In an article about Priyanka Chopra. What does Pakistan have to do with the piece? Nothing. Issues regarding women’s rights, religious rights or any matter pertaining to Pakistan are all separate matter. Pakistan May be violating all these rights, but this does not absolve Priyanka.

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