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15 Mar

Sanam Jung’s morning show featuring blackface sparks anger

Sanam Jung’s morning show Jago Pakistan Jago (JPJ) isn’t new to controversy. In 2017, Sanam’s show hosted the infamous segment titled ‘Maasi No.1 competition’, a segment that received a lot of criticism online for promoting the exploitation of domestic staff on national television. The show has again come under fire for being racist due to their latest program.

Pictures of models with blackened faces surfaced online through the show’s official Facebook page and within hours, comments started flooding through. People seemed outraged over the show’s use of blackface. Light skinned models were being painted with dark make-up on their skin, which lead to speculations over what the show’s intent was.

Sanam Jung

 

For those who don’t know, JPJ is currently hosting a week long segment that has brought together 12 beauticians from different areas of Karachi. These beauticians were selected after a stringent process, after being briefed on what exactly was going to take place on the show. Every day, the beauticians would be asked to perform various tasks to win the coveted cash prize: a grand amount of Rs1 lakh.

The tasks are meant to get more and more challenging as the week progresses. The producer of JPJ, Rehan Ahmed explained the rationale behind the different tasks. “The beauticians were challenged in different ways. For instance, in one segment, we applied mehndi on their hands and asked them to apply make-up on their models with one hand. In the same way, for one of the segments we got a dark base and asked the beauticians to use that to create the perfect look.”

One naturally wonders why the team didn’t think to hire dark models for this challenge, those who were actually dark enough for the base being used on light skinned models. “There was no need to do so. Also, we had to keep things consistent. We had to use 5 models for the entirety of the competition week, we couldn’t change them just for this segment,” Rehan said.

Manal Faheem Khan

The author is Contributing Editor at Something Haute who has studied film and journalism from SZABIST. Will be found at the gym if not in the office.