LET’S TALK ABOUT LILLY SINGH
Lilly Singh, previously known by her username IISuperwomanII, has been a YouTuber since 2010. Over the last ten years, the Indian Canadian YouTuber has also become an actor, writer, and most recently, a talk show host. Her show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh, airs on NBC.
However, over the last few months, she has come up against the recent wave of ‘cancel culture’ and has faced controversy on two fronts: cultural appropriation, and exploitation of stereotypes.
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This one is for my sisters around the world. No matter your colour, shape, size, orientation, preferences, abilities or style… BADGYALL PULL UP!!! I had a blast remaking one of my favorite old school Dancehall songs called “Badman Forward, Badman Pull up.” Much of my upbringing involved mashing it up on the dance floor when this tune came on but it was always directed to the boys, so I thought I’d switch it up a bit. I think the beauty of music and art is how it speaks to different people and how we can build upon it as time goes by, while still paying tribute to the original. The original song is by Ding Dong, so be sure to check it out. And if you’re not familiar with Dancehall, it’s a wonderful genre from out of Jamaica so be sure to peep that too! Now… the real question is, which badgyals know how to pull up? Tag me in your videos and I’ll repost. This has been a #ForTheRecordRemix, dedicated to all the badgyals. If you know one, TAG EM! (Mix by the wonderful @durranibros) #GirlLove ❤️
Let’s start with cultural appropriation. In April 2020, Singh released a remake of an old Dancehall song called “Badman Forward, Badman Pull Up” by Ding Dong, changing the lyrics to support women of all shapes and sizes. However, in the video, she raps the song in a faux Caribbean accent, causing people to accuse her cultural appropriation, and not for the first time. Singh has often been seen sporting cornrows, or using Caribbean vernacular in her videos and talk show, which she attributes to her upbringing in Scarborough, an ethnically diverse area of Toronto.
She has also been accused of exploiting Indian stereotypes over the years in the numerous videos with her parent characters, Manjeet and Paramjeet.
Although Singh does come from a South Asian background, many people believe that the melodramatic nature of these characters only further perpetuates racial stereotypes towards people from India living in the West.
However, on this front, fans are quick to defend her, claiming that the content is definitely relatable to people with Indian parents, and that instead of aiming to mock, the purpose is simply to unite through common experiences.
Although Singh has often spoken out against cultural appropriation, violence against the black community, and spread #GirlLove, it seems that the long-standing YouTuber turned celebrity may still have some work to do in unifying her beliefs.
What do you think about this controversy surrounding Lilly Singh?
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