Malaysian actress Mira Filzah apologized on Twitter yesterday after she was called out for cultural appropriation for putting on traditional Indian attire in a photo shoot promoting contact lenses.
The 27-year-old, whose real name is Nur Amirah Filzah, wowed her fans three days ago after posting photos and videos of herself in lehenga and adorned in gold jewelry with henna tattoos. She also angered others for appropriating Indian culture, especially for a campaign that had nothing to do with it.
“I am sorry if what I did was wrong,” the actress replied a tweet that labeled her a “cultural appropriation queen.”
The Sangkar actress describes herself as a huge Bollywood fan and that it was her first time being dressed in full lehenga.
“I’ve grown up with Bollywood movies and songs and I’ve always been a fan of Bollywood since (I was) small. I was so excited as this is going to be my first time wearing a full set lehenga with accessories! Again, there’s no intention at all to gain any profit on my own from the Indian culture itself. I’m just a die-hard fan of Bollywood and I am sorry if you think what I did was wrong.”
Hi dear. I am sorry if what I did was wrong. I’ve grown up with Bollywood movies and songs and I’ve always been a fan of Bollywood since small. You just name it. 😍 I even memorise all the lyrics and googled the lyrics translation just to understand the song deeply.
— MIRA FILZAH (@MFMiraFilzah) August 20, 2020
Twitter user @Desgranpa pointed out that the Bollywood theme was “unnecessary” as the collaboration had nothing to do with the Indian community.
“Mira Filzah was appropriating our tradition to advertise contact lenses, something that has no correlation whatsoever to the desi community. It was so unnecessary,” he wrote in a tweet.
Another said that it was problematic if the people who supported Amirah in traditional Indian attire do not share the same praise to actual Indian women wearing them.
“All I know is that if you saw her wearing Indian cultural clothing and thought ‘Oh she’s looks beautiful’ but think the opposite when an actual Indian wears the same thing, we’re gonna have a problem,” Twitter user @HelloItsAuni said.
There were also those who saw nothing wrong with what Amirah did. Some said that it was common for Malaysians of different races to celebrate each other’s cultures, including non-Malay-Muslim fashion designers Bernard Chandran and Melinda Looi, who produce Hari Raya collections each year.
“Bernard Chandran and Melinda Looi design Baju Melayu every year to BENEFIT off from MY CULTURE for their businesses and IT’S OKAY. In fact, they’re doing it better than some Malay designers. We are Malaysians and have harmoniously exchange cultures for years!” Twitter user @Badrulamin_14 wrote.
Other stories to check out:
Fast. Funny. Digital. We produce creativity that delights and influences customers. Join forces with us to slay buzzwords, rise above the noise, and sow the seeds of something great.