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Camila Cabello has responded to accusations that one of her backup dancers was wearing blackface in a recent performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
On July 23, Camila performed her new song "Don't Go Yet" on The Tonight Show with a group of dancers and, as noted by Entertainment Weekly, one dancer raised eyebrows for looking like he had his skin darkened. The dancer in question wore a bright purple shirt and a deep “spray tan" with lighter makeup around his eyes.
Some viewers were quick to share their feelings about the makeup with Camila. "Camila, I love you, but ok, there's a mistake in your performance, one of the dancers was practicing blackface and that's unforgivable, you wanted representation but failed, pay more attention," wrote one fan.
Camila then took to Twitter with a Notes app explanation of the intention behind the performance. "So this dude was just supposed to be a white man with a terrible spray tan," she wrote. "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. and so the point wasn't to try to make everyone look Latin either. There are a lot of people in the performance who are not." According to Camila, the vision was to make each dancer look like an "over the top 80's character [sic] just like in the video, including a white dude with a terrible orange spray tan."
EW also noted that a stylist who worked on the “Don't Go Yet” music video, Lisa Katnić, also posted an explanation about the performance look on Instagram Stories. "For people messaging me feeling stressed about this character, he is meant to have a bad fake tan," she wrote. "The makeup artist put light concealer around his eyes to express that. Perhaps it needed to be lighter so it was more pronounced. This is not blackface. Sorry if it looked like that to anybody but I assure you that was not the vibe."
However, some fans were not entirely pleased with Camila's explanation or the fact that the dancer shared a screengrab from the performance and used a Black female emoji to describe his look. "Like y’all clearly didn’t achieve the vibe you wanted, and it never should have been attempted. I don’t personally love your ‘explanation’, but regardless of your intentions, people ARE offended by what you did. You need to apologize and do better," tweeted one. "No matter the original intention, the guy's posts are telling another story – I mean, he literally compared himself to a black woman emoji. That is very clearly offensive. This is not ok, apologizing is the very least you could do," wrote another.
Back in March, Camila told People she had been attending weekly racial healing sessions after offensive and racist Tumblr posts she had written in the past came to light. Camila apologized for the posts in 2019, saying, "When I was younger, I used language that I'm deeply ashamed of and will regret forever. 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 apologize then and I apologize again now."
Camila told People she had been working with the National Compadres Network. “It created a space where I was held accountable,” she shared of her experience. "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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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue