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You’d think that in 2021, people would already be educated about the negative connotation of doing a blackface or a brown-face, but it looks like Malaysian Mandopop singer Haoren and his team did not get the memo.

The singer, real name Choo Haoren, recently drew flak after releasing a music video for his song “White Doll” as an advertisement for a skin-whitening product called Snowbebe. The MV stars Malaysian social media influencer Qiu Wen as the lead, with the celebrity being given the brown-over to portray a girl with a darker skin tone.

Qiu then, with the help of her secret admirer Haoren, tried various skin-whitening remedies to finally achieve a lighter skin tone – inviting the admiration of her classmates.

Netizens who saw the music video couldn’t help but feel enraged over the depiction of beauty, with many accusing it of being racist and propagating the antediluvian notion that only white is beautiful. They also called for Haoren to be cancelled.

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The video that sparked netizens’ anger

One even blasted the MV team for making fun of people with darker skin tones and using make-up to fake such complexion on an actor.

However, despite the backlash, the singer defended the MV, saying that it was nothing like blackface, and that the girl in the video is just a depiction of a girl who got tanned by the hot Malaysian sun.

“This is a true story of my [girlfriend] Gladish who used to walk to school and become tanned. I hope you all can listen [to] the lyrics deeply and the story of the MV in detail to understand [it] the right way,” he posted.

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The MV stars Instagram influencer Qiu Wen

He had since released an official statement on Instagram that read, “I hereby to say sorry to everyone who feels uncomfortable [by] the story. I am really sorry. The MV has been temporarily removed from my channel. I hope you all can come to discuss about this. I want to clarify that I definitely didn’t mean to offend anyone. It is only because of the plot needs the makeup to perform the tanned skin that based on true story.”

“I will discuss this topic on my channel tonight. In Malaysia, a country with strong sunlight, is it really inappropriate to do a tanned makeup on actor to present a plot of sunburnt? Even-though the story end up show unconditional love from the boy towards the tanned skin girl? I want to listen to everyone’s opinions, and welcome everyone to give your valuable opinions.”

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Haoren releases his apology statement on Instagram on 25 Jan

(Photo Source: Haoren Instagram, Qui Wen Instagram)