American television network HBO recently responded to a claim made by an extra in Lovecraft Country, that her skin was darkened by the show’s makeup artists during a brief appearance on the series. Kelli Amirah, the person in question, last month alleged in one of her TikTok videos that the make-up artist on the series darkened her skin using foundation, for her to have a closer resemblance to the older version of a character she portrayed. She appeared as a young bride in a throwback wedding photo, in the episode. Actor Simu Liu Calls Out Racial Discrimination of Monolid Eyes by New York-Based Paladino Casting Agency Looking For People of Korean/Chinese Descent (Check Tweet).
In a statement to People magazine, a spokesperson for HBO said, “We were very disappointed to learn of Ms. Amirah’s experience. This should not have happened, and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again in the future.” Amirah had claimed in the video that when the makeup artists working on the series’ cast, said that she looked “a little lighter” than the other actress. Later during her make-up, she noticed that her foundation was “getting darker and darker”. Golden Globes 2021: HFPA Issues Statement Assuring ‘Transformational Change’ After Diversity Controversy at 78th Golden Globe Awards.
In another TikTok video, she recorded her brief appearance in a photo during the episode and shared that, “as soon as we wrapped, I went right back to hair and makeup to ask for some makeup wipes because I refused to go out in the world like that.” Amirah also claimed that the show’s makeup artists darkened her hands. Over the weekend, after her TikTok videos went viral, she addressed the controversy in a lengthy Twitter thread.
She wrote, “I’ve been getting a lot of very valid critiques for my complacency in allowing Lovecraft Country to darken my skin as a photo double for some set photography briefly featured in an episode. It’s uncomfortable but it’s not wrong. I was weak and complacent in that moment.” Amirah went on to say that she regrets not speaking up at the time and hopes her story prohibits this situation from ever happening again.
Lovecraft Country, which premiered its first season in the second half of 2020, received critical acclaim and was nominated for best television series for drama at the 2021 Golden Globes. Based on the 2016 horror novel of the same name, the series stars Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett, Aunjanue Ellis, Courtney B. Vance, Abbey Lee, Jamie Chung, and Michael K. Williams.
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