Papua-born actress Yanni Melwani to replace celebrity couple Raffi-Nagita as icons of National Games in Papua

Actress/entrepreneur Yanni Melwani will replace celebrity couple Raffi Ahmad-Nagita Slavina as the icon of the 20th edition of National Games (PON) in Papua, according to reports. Yanni was born in Biak Numfor regency. Photo: Instagram/@yannimelwani
Actress/entrepreneur Yanni Melwani will replace celebrity couple Raffi Ahmad-Nagita Slavina as the icon of the 20th edition of National Games (PON) in Papua, according to reports. Yanni was born in Biak Numfor regency. Photo: Instagram/@yannimelwani

It appears that celebrity couple Raffi Ahmad and Nagita Slavina are on their way out as icons of the 20th edition of National Games (PON) in Papua, as the event’s organizers are reportedly considering other celebrities from the province following backlash about race from the initial selection.

Actress/entrepreneur Yanni Melwani will replace the couple as the icon of the quadrennial sporting event, according to reports. Yanni, who was born in Biak Numfor regency, starred in a sinetron titled Aisyah, which aired on television station ANTV. 

Yanni recently said her appointment as icon for PON, which kicks off in October, is not the most important thing for her. 

“The most important thing for me is for PON to run smoothly, and all of us have the same responsibilities to make PON as the national event that can elevate the good name of Papua and Indonesia,” Yanni said.

“Hopefully everything goes according to plan, and we can unite so that PON can be successful.”

Last week, actor/comedian Arie Kriting called out the appointment of Raffi-Nagita as icons of PON, with Nagita in particular promoting the event by wearing a traditional Papuan costume in an official photoshoot.

Also Read ⁠— Appointment of celebrity couple Raffi-Nagita as ‘icons’ for Papua-hosted National Games panned for cultural appropriation

“The appointment of Nagita Slavina as the ambassador of the 20th PON in Papua can encourage cultural appropriation in the end. Papuan women should be represented directly by Papuan women,” Arie wrote in his Instagram post.

The public appears to be divided about Arie’s take. While a number of fellow celebrities and netizens on Twitter shared the comedian’s sentiment, others on Instagram defended Raffi and Nagita, and accused Arie of attacking them personally, to the point that a group of fans encouraged fellow fans to report the 36-year-old’s account.

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