Vidhi and I have gotten into this song since it’s so catchy. The artist is French and a quarter Malagasy. But she looks straight up “Caucasian” to the extent that she has to emphasize her exotic background (probably also to insulate herself against claims of cultural appropriation – the Twitter handle “Jain Music” belongs to her).
In an increasingly diverse world we are reverting to crude racial categories to sort people out. We know what a “white person” looks like, we have a feel for what a brown person is so on and so forth. Europe is going to revert to a more “American” style of classification where if one passes as white one will be accepted as such.
Justin Trudeau recently called out a heckler as racist since she used the term “Quebecois de souche” (Quebecer of Pure Blood). Now off-hand Trudeau is only a quarter French (though he is married to a Francophone) but I don’t think the lady was referring to him for some reason.
Britain right now is undergoing a fetish for period dramas; there is a convincing argument that BAME actors simply do not have a role in such pieces. How can we transport Indian or Black aristocrats unless an entirely fictitious storyline is invented for them, which makes the suspension of disbelief all the more difficult.
As a final aside I saw Priyanka Chopra referred to as a “Holly-Bolly” actress. Now she may have burnished her post-Quantico career with an attendance at the Royal Wedding and engagement to Nick Jonas but in a way it’s startling just how “oil & water” Bollywood and Hollywood are. The main influences on Bollywood come by way of storyline adaptation of Western cinema and importing Western cinematographers (for instance Kapoor & Sons since 1921 had some Hollywood crew).
British Asians notably cannot make it in Bollywood (Katrina Kaif is not really a British Asian since her Asian ancestry is dubious; half of the Caribbean claim Kashmiri ancestors) because they lack the language skills and cultural mannerisms of a true born Desi.. This is especially acute in Tehran where Iranians from abroad will be scented out even before they’ve opened their mouth because there is something ineffably Western about them so the issue as always is mired in shades of grey.. Diasporas, migrations have a cost on the soul it seems and that existential angst is playing itself out in the discourse of affluent visible communities in the West..