HBO Apologizes After Black Actress Claims Her Skin Was Darkened in Episode of ‘Lovecraft Country’

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Kelli Amirah, an actress hired to play the younger version of a cast member on HBO’s thriller series Lovecraft Country, claims her skin was darkened against her will by a makeup artist. HBO apologized to Amirah and insisted it is “taking steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again in the future.”

HBO said it is “very disappointed” to learn of Amirah’s experience while filming an episode of the series after she went public with her claims on a TikTok video posted last month.

The young actress said that she overheard the makeup artists talking about how her natural skin is a bit too light for the part she was hired for. Makeup was purportedly added to darken Amirah’s skin. Before long, Amirah says that she “noticed my foundation is getting darker and darker.”

Amirah went on in the TikTok video to say that the whole thing made her “so uncomfortable.”

“I had no idea they were going to do this to me beforehand. And if I knew beforehand, I would not have accepted this job. Who thought this was a good idea?” she added on her video.

@kelliamirahReply to @selahhassni they really did me like Zoe saldana as Nina Simone #storytime #extra #backgroundactor #tvfilm #blackfishing #onset #part2♬ original sound – KelliAmirah

Amirah also posted a tweet responding to people who said she was too compliant before the makeup artists.

“It’s uncomfortable but it’s not wrong. I was weak and complacent in that moment,” Amirah tweeted.

Amirah also noted that she had applied for the role through a photo submission process and not an in-person audition. But at no point in the process was she told her skin was “too light” for the part.

“So here I am, in the makeup trailer of a major network production with the lead stars of the show, and they’re putting me in blackface,” Amirah exclaimed. “Now as this was happening I had so many conflicting thoughts in my head. This is wrong. Why did they hire me. I should say something. What would I say? What would happen? If I hold up this production how much money goes down the drain. What will be my repercussions?”

Amirah did admit that she didn’t object to the makeup because she was worried about being fired. But she accepted the “valid critiques” that she did not handle the situation correctly at the time and said she and the film industry “need to do better” in the future.

“I do want to re-iterate that had I known what was required beforehand, I absolutely WOULD NOT have accepted the job. On set, in the chair, I was meek and passive and did not assert my agency as black women for the betterment of my darker sisters and for that I am sorry,” she writes. “I’d have much rather I never stepped foot on set to be put in that position in the first place if the casting team had worked a little harder to find a darker actress that still matched the features of the actress as they claimed I did.”

She also disagreed with those who said that the makeup was just part of the make-believe of Hollywood and had nothing to do with her.

“I 100 percent disagree with those folks. Changing skin appearance for a vampire or alien is NOT the same as changing someone’s skin tone/features when you could have casted a better fit in the first place,” she insisted.

Last August, Breitbart News entertainment editor Jerome Hudson reported how actress Jurnee Smollett, whose brother is hate crime hoaxer Jussie Smollett, described Lovecraft Country as a “fictional reflection of a segregation and Jim Crow-era America that black people ‘are still on that quest today in 2020’ to overcome.”

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