On Friday, the 24-year-old performed her single Don’t Go Yet on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she was accompanied by a group of backup dancers dressed in 80s outfits.
Following the performance, however, many viewers took to social media to accuse one of the dancers, who was dressed in a magenta shirt and face makeup much darker than his skin colour, of wearing blackface.
“Camila Cabello really had background dancers…in blackface. In 2021. I’m sick,” one person tweeted, while another said: “@Camila_Cabello clearly those racism classes taught you nothing… allowing a white man to do blackface on a live performance for millions to see… I’m disgusted but not surprised.”
However, in a statement shared to Twitter, the Havana singer denied that the man in question had been wearing blackface, with Cabello alleging that he was “just supposed to be a white man with a terrible spray tan”.
In the Twitter thread, Cabello addressed the backlash by first sharing a video of the performance and revealing that, on her team, they try to “create a culture of kindness, joy, and love”, with the singer then claiming that “you could feel that this week”.
In a follow-up tweet, Cabello then shared a photo of the dancer, Dylan Pearce, backstage, that he had shared to his Instagram with the caption: “In case you missed my spray tan last night on @jimmyfallon with @camila_cabello,” along with an iPhone Notes statement, in which she said: “Hey! So this dude was just supposed to be a white man with a terrible spray tan.”
“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,” the singer continued. “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.”
Cabello then concluded the statement explaining that the “point” of the outfits was to make each dancer look like an “over-the-top 80s character”.
“The point was to try to make each person look like an over-the-top 80s character just like in the video, including a white dude with a terrible orange spray tan,” she wrote.
In response to the statement, fans continued to express disappointment with the pop star, with many urging Cabello to apologise instead of defending the offensive makeup.
“This is not an apology, it wasn’t okay and offended a lot of people! There was no need for it. I’m really disappointed and you should’ve known better,” one person tweeted.
Another said: “He BLACKFACED, he didn’t get a bad tan. And YOU, knowing about it, shouldn’t have allowed him on stage. You both are so wrong. Apologise.”
“I loved you so much, but I am SO disappointed. This is by far the lamest excuse for racism that I have ever seen in my entire life. You didn’t even try to apologise here. I am so so so disappointed with you, seriously,” someone else wrote.
This is not the first time Cabello has been criticised for allegedly “racist” behaviour, as the singer previously apologised after comments she made in now-deleted Tumblr posts resurfaced and were shared in a Twitter thread titled: “Exposing Camila Cabello‘s racist and downright disturbing tumblr reblogs.”
At the time, the singer said she was “sorry from the bottom of my heart”, before admitting to using language when she was younger that she is “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 language, I was deeply embarrassed I ever used it,” Cabello continued, adding that she believes her past mistakes “don’t represent the person I am or a person I’ve ever been,” as she only stands for “love and inclusivity”.
Following the backlash, Cabello also reportedly revealed that she had begun attending “weekly racial healing sessions, according to BuzzFeed.
The Independent has contacted a representative for Cabello for comment.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies