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Philippine Entertainment has a weird relationship with brownface, and it shows

For every progressive material in Philippine media, there will be some that would take us back to the dark ages.

Filipinos want progress, that’s a given, of course. Yet, there are just some things that you can’t shake off from our culture, which inhibits this kind of societal progress and makes us look backward among the rest of the other countries.

One of the things that seem to be a recurring problem in the Philippine entertainment industry is its inherent colorism. For some reason, the industry has failed to remove this as a thing. Why that is so, we really have no idea. And now, we are faced with another example of this:

Last October 10, 2022, Star Cinema released the first-ever trailer of their film that is participating in the esteemed Metro Manila Film Festival for 2022, to be directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. Titled, “Partners in Crime”, the film features the team-up of “Showtime” host and personality Vice Ganda and model-actress Ivana Alawi. In the movie, their characters try to figure out a crime and survive their situation whilst still having unresolved issues between them. 

The main plot itself seems harmless. But the characterization…hmmm.

The teaser received mixed reactions from netizens, with most of them pointing out the blatant brownface displayed by Ivana Alawi. 

brownface colorism

via Twitter

brownface colorism

via Twitter

brownface colorism

via Twitter

brownface colorism

via Twitterbrownface colorism

via Twitter

via Twitter

Vice Ganda came to Ivana Alawi’s defense after seeing the reactions to the teaser which talked mostly of colorism and brownface. He mentioned in a series of tweets that there wouldn’t be anything related to colorism, as they have not finished shooting the film in the first place.

Brownface Vice Ganda

via Twitter

Brownface Vice Ganda

via Twitter

Brownface Vice Ganda

via Twitter

If there isn’t any intention to include any hint of colorism in their film in the first place, then why was it so overt and shown so brazenly? Everyone who is anyone knows that Ivana Alawi is a fair-skinned woman. Yes, she is part Moroccan, but that doesn’t give her the pass to darken her skin just for a role in a film. Heck, she’s a prominent figure on social media. Surely, she’s seen discussions on colorism on the platform. She also seems to be surrounded by people equally aware of the issue, why couldn’t they remind her of it?

Also, Vice Ganda is a well-educated person. If he’s aware of the issues surrounding colorism, why didn’t he raise this during the production of the film? Will we have another film centering on an “ugly duckling” character with curled hair and a darker skin tone who suddenly glows up with straightened hair and a lighter skin tone? 

Haven’t we already had enough of these films? We’ve already had a number of times when this happened with people calling it out. Why doesn’t Philippine media or the entertainment industry address this? Are we so caught up in the westernized standards of beauty that we fail to see that there are other actresses better suited for these kinds of roles physically

Sadly, our country really won’t progress and develop unless we resolve these kinds of issues and acknowledge how these actions are so out of place in 2022. Seriously, stop with the colorism already. Every kind of skin color is beautiful, and we should start celebrating our very own Morena skin. 

 

 

 

Other POP! stories you might like:

7 times Philippine entertainment got away with using brownface

‘Trauma Dumping’: Why people resort to social media to share their mental health struggles

Kaye Brier’s silent but successful journey as possibly the first TransPinay in the Philippine news industry

‘Tudum’: Netflix’s 24-hour virtual fan event, named after its iconic sound ID, unveils new lineup

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