Actress Wani Kayrie criticized for blackface after TikTok video resurfaces

Screenshots of the TikTok video in which the actress is wearing blackface. Photo: Danny Boo /Twitter
Screenshots of the TikTok video in which the actress is wearing blackface. Photo: Danny Boo /Twitter

Malaysian actress and singer Wani Kayrie has landed in hot water after a TikTok video of her dancing in blackface resurfaced on Twitter yesterday.

The TikTok video showed the 20-year-old television personality, whose real name is Syazwani Abdullah, dancing to Shh by rapper Young Fanatic while her face and neck were painted black. 

Twitter user Danny Boo was among those who had called her out online. 

“Blackface isn’t a fucking joke holy shit!” his tweet read yesterday. It was shared by nearly 2,000 others.

It is not clear when the original video went up on Wani’s TikTok, but the clip appears to have been deleted from her account. Wani has also apologized on her Twitter and urged people to take the clips down or they would be “spreading slander.”

“I’m kindly asking for the video of yours to be taken down since I’ve deleted it to respect the community,” she said. “And I wouldn’t you to commit sins from my wrong deeds, dear. it would be spreading a slander when I’ve taken down the video myself and u to spread it all over again.” 

Wani is currently shooting a drama based on the Malay folklore Dayang Senandung, which tells a story of a princess who was cursed with black skin. She had the curse lifted after giving birth to a child at a castle. The first television adaption of it aired in 1965 and starred veteran actress Sarimah Ahmad. 

In recent years, the folklore has been criticized for perpetuating prejudice against dark-skinned individuals. 

Netizens have also called on Zeel Productions to stop the production of the modern adaptation of Dayang Senandung, which stars Wani as the cursed princess. Production began months ago and was temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. It resumes this week

Neither Wani nor Zeel Productions have responded to Coconuts KL’s request for comment via email earlier today.

Wani Kayrie (right) together with another actress in Dayang Senandung. Photo: Zeel Productions
Wani Kayrie (right) together with another actress in Dayang Senandung. Photo: Zeel Productions

Dayang Senandung is an adaptation from the same named classic movie produced back in 1965. THEY HAD 55 YEARS TO KNOW THAT ITS PROBLEMATIC,” Twitter user @Brownricebabe said. 

“It is not an exaggeration to say that Dayang Senandung is problematic. Just bcs (sic) it’s old, a legend, a folklore doesn’t mean it’s right. The fable taught us COLORISM. It taught us that dark, black skin is UGLY, is CURSED. It taught us that being different makes us UNWANTED,” Twitter user Bunny said.

The online petition Stop the production of Dayang Senandung was launched yesterday and has since received over 2,600 signatures. 

“Seeing as Malaysia is a melting pot of different races, Dayang Senandung’s story is disappointing and prejudiced towards those born with a darker skin tone,” the petition page said. 

Other stories to check out:

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Limkokwing University under fire over ‘King of Africa’ billboard

Kuala Lumpur hostel ‘Reggae Mansion’ accused of racism again

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