The singer found herself under fire on social media when one of her backup dancers, Dylan Pearce, was accused of blackface as they performed her new single ‘Don’t Go Yet’ in the LA studio on July 24. Watch the video above.
In the footage in question, Cabello, 24, and her many dancers channelled the ’80s with colourful props and outfits inspired by the era. But it was Pearce’s heavy makeup that was the topic of conversation.
“Camila what was going on with Dylan’s makeup? is he your dancer or Fallon’s?” one Twitter user tweeted. “We all go through a lot to defend you from unnecessary hate, but having a dancer do blackface on stage in 2021 is absurd and you know better than that! say something immediately.”
Cabello did issue a swift reply as requested, writing in a note posted to Instagram: “Hey! so this dude was just supposed to be a white man with a terrible spray tan. we purposefully tried to pull together a multicultural group of performers, the expectation was not that everyone in the performance needed to be Latin.”
“There are white people, African American people, latin people, etc.,” she explained. “The point was to try to make each person look like an over the top 80’s character just like in the video, including a white dude with a terrible orange spray tan.”
In a separate Twitter post, Cabello stressed she and her team were trying to “create a culture of kindness, joy, & love & you could feel that this week. none of this could be possible without the dream team that makes it happen & the fans that continue to support”.
This isn’t the first time Cabello has found herself at the centre of a racism scandal. In late 2019, the singer issued a public apology after racist messages she posted years ago resurfaced online.
The messages were reportedly posted back in 2012 when Cabello was just 15 years old, and it was believed she shared GIFs, memes and comments of racial stereotypes deemed derogatory to the black community — a few of her posts were said to have contained the N-word.
“When I was younger, I used language that I’m deeply ashamed of and will regret forever,” the ‘Señorita’ singer began a lengthy message shared to both Instagram and Twitter at the time “I was uneducated and ignorant and once I became aware of the history and the weight and the true meaning behind this horrible and hurtful language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it.
“I apologised then and I apologise now. I would never intentionally hurt anyone and I regret it from the bottom of my heart. As much as I wish I could, I can’t go back in time and change things I said in the past. But once you know better, you do better and that’s all I can do.”
Following the 2019 scandal, Cabello began attending weekly racial healing sessions. She only made the revelation in an interview with People magazine in March this year, explaining she joined the program in an effort to educate herself.
“It created a space where I was held accountable,” Camila said. “You get corrected, you have homework, and you learn. That’s how you move forward. Now I know better so I can do better.”
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