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‘It’s Going to Take a Long, Long Time.’ How the Uproar Over a Bollywood Lyric About Beyoncé Fits Into the Fight Against Colorism in India

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The upcoming Bollywood rom-com Khaali Peeli, starring actors Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday, isn’t set to be released until Oct. 2, but one of the musical’s songs is already famous—for all the wrong reasons.

After an outcry on social media over a song lyric perceived to rely on colorism—prejudice or discrimination against people with darker skin tones—the filmmakers announced that they will be changing the song slightly. The lyric in question, which roughly translated to “by merely looking at you, oh fair lady, Beyoncé will feel shy,” will be replaced with “the world will be shy after seeing you” dropping the “fair lady” and Beyoncé mentions.

“We have made the film to entertain audiences and not to offend or hurt anyone,” Maqbool Khan, the director, said. “Since our lyrical arrangement did not go well with few people, we thought why not keeping the essence the same while changing the song a little bit.”

Additionally, the song’s title has been changed from “Beyoncé sharma jayegi” to “Duniya Sharma Jaayegi” (meaning “the world will feel shy,” instead of “Beyoncé will feel shy”). Earlier, the song title was simply tweaked to “Beyonse Sharma Jayegi,” changing the spelling of Beyoncé’s name for legal reasons. But though the original lyric used the Hindi word goriya, which translates to “fair or light-skinned lady,” the filmmakers and lyricist have said that it was not meant to be taken literally. “The term ‘goriya’ has been so often and traditionally used in Indian songs to address a girl,” said Khan, “that it didn’t occur to any of us to interpret it in the literal manner.”

Though his stated intention did not match the lyrics’ reception, Khan’s statement does get at a deeper truth: the idea of a “fair lady” being a stand-in for a beautiful woman dates back centuries in South Asian culture, as it does in many others. But just in the last year, colorism in South Asian culture has come under fire in a number of ways. In recent months, instances such as Bollywood stars promoting skin-whitening creams while championing Black Lives Matter and the casual colorist statements in the reality dating show Indian Matchmaking have resulted in a heated discourse surrounding the topic, which, at times, has spurred change. Radhika Parameswaran, a professor in the Media School at Indiana University, Bloomington, spoke to TIME about that context.

TIME: What are some different ways in which colorism manifests itself in Bollywood?

Parameswaran: One of the biggest visual reminders and symbols of colorism is who is cast. In Bollywood, the prevalence of the star system is huge—movie stars make the movie. They become national idols, and people are their fans. Not that you don’t have those types of visual cultures and fans in the U.S., but in India, there is a large population who cannot read or write; films transcend those barriers of literacy, and in a country that’s in the Global South, the role that films can play is huge. The movie stars that have been idealized in Bollywood, particularly in terms of women, have been very, very light-skinned, and that continues today. The settings they’re in are usually very lavish, so light-skinned beauty gets tied to issues of class and upward mobility.

What is the underlying message you get from the lyric “by merely looking at you, oh fair lady, Beyoncé will feel shy”?

It’s the hero addressing the heroine, saying, not only are you white and beautiful, but you would put a transnationally beautiful star to shame, arguing that the Indian light-skinned beauty is even more powerful than a celebrity force coming from America. On a more complicated note, it’s nationalist as well as colorist. It suggests a sort of resistance to American supremacy, but on the other hand, it doesn’t get rid of the problem of local hierarchies of skin color.

If colorism has such a deep history in Bollywood, why do you think this particular moment has caused such an outcry?

There are various reasons. One is that there has been an activist movement against colorism that’s been building momentum over the last ten years I would say, getting more and more amplified. Barkha Dutt, the famous Indian journalist, used to host a show called We the People. She had two episodes, years ago, that talked about colorism and racism, and this discussion made the national stage. Nandita Das, a celebrity example, has been speaking up against colorism. Women of Worth is an on-the-ground charity that has been trying to go into schools and ordinary people’s lives, just engaging the public in this pedagogy of how to get rid of colorism. There are also ordinary people making fun of skin-lightening ads by creating spoofs of them. So there has been a societal contestation of colorism coming from various points of view and various agents.

Then you have Black Lives Matter, which went to India in a way it might not have 20 years ago thanks to social media and the Indian diaspora. All of this combined, it is even surprising that this song was composed, performed and made public. It is quite shocking that these movie-makers didn’t realize this.

In general, what is the role of the diaspora in the colorism debate?

I think the diaspora have been quite active. In India, colorism, even 10 years ago, was easily brushed off as “of course light skin is beautiful.” There was an unquestioned solidity to that claim. It was simply not challenged. And there’s the connection to caste too, so these were all just sort of taken at face value.

The diaspora grew up in a different environment where discrimination is being spoken about, it’s not going away—but it has been spoken about through the language of race. I also think the diaspora, who may have gone to schools and participated in other kinds of experiences in institutions, where perhaps they were a minority and faced racism, are very quick to see this and understand it in a way that perhaps in India, it has taken some time for people to grapple with and understand.

How does colorism move from the screen into the everyday lives of people?

Media messages are not like a hypodermic needle, where you inject it into people’s bodies, and it just becomes part of them. I think it’s a more subtle process and depends on class, education, all of those factors. It’s not to suggest that lower classes and less educated people are more susceptible and practice more colorism, it’s not that simple. I do think in some ways upper classes may be doing it more. But still, it does shape the norms of society. Women in particular keep getting measured against these norms. Can there be cracks in the norms? Sure, but those will be unusual.

The filmmakers decided to change the lyric entirely. Is it rare for backlash to cause such a change?

In some films, there’s nothing to be done. The film is out, it’s released, like Bala, which was a story that featured a dark-skinned heroine, but the actor cast was light-skinned and wore brownface. But I do this is going to be more of the trend, especially with issues surrounding skin color. This type of colorism, it’s going to get challenged.

Do you think this continued challenging of colorism will result in deeper change?

Here is the thing. It’s one thing to lose the language of “goriya” and the reference to Beyoncé. But does this mean the heroines are going to start being dark-skinned? No. In terms of casting and representation, it’s going to take a long, long time for that to change. Changing a word is fairly easy to do, and cosmetic, and makes the film producers look socially responsible, but changing how the heroines look, that will not be immediate.

This incident comes not long after the skin-whitening cream Fair & Lovely changed its name to Glow & Lovely, though it kept its product the same, again following a social media fallout tied to Bollywood. Do you think companies will begin to make changes even before a controversy comes up?

I think they will tend to wait until an outcry happens first. Bollywood is a mass, popular industry, so they’re going to count on catering to what they think are mass, popular tastes, and I’m sure they’re going to consider whether protests from what they view as a small, elite population that may not even go to their movies are worth it. If a movie is going to be broadcast in the Hindi heartland and all sorts of rural areas and small towns, how much is this type of issue going to be contested in those spaces? We have to ask, who has access to the English language internet, given India’s vast class divisions and rural-urban divisions? Is this a small minority speaking to themselves? In [that] case, Bollywood is going to make cosmetic changes, and I don’t think they’re really going to take this into account in a careful way.

With reporting by Arpita Aneja

Write to Anna Purna Kambhampaty at [email protected]

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RS Country Music Picks: Week of September 28th

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Whether it’s coming out of Nashville, New York, L.A., or points in between, there’s no shortage of fresh tunes, especially from artists who have yet to become household names. Rolling Stone Country selects some of the best new music releases from country and Americana artists.

Canaan Smith, “Colder Than You”

After a few hits and an occasional misfire, Canaan Smith finds his country voice on the deliberately stripped-down new song “Colder Than You.” “For me, it all started with a hand-me-down acoustic. I’ve always felt like the best songs are the ones that hold up with just a guitar,” he says. Smith gets back to basics in an accompanying video too, lighting out for a lost weekend in the woods to forget the woman who dared tell him to “turn down the Merle.”

Ian Fisher, “American Standards”

American expat Ian Fisher returns to his Midwest home state for the guerilla-style video for “American Standards,” a cheeky nod to both the toilet manufacturer and our decaying U.S. values. The clip is a hoot, with Fisher, who’s lived in Europe for the past decade, knocking on doors to spread a message of “Make It Flush Again” — a kinder, gentler way of ridding ourselves of “a president who proverbially defecates daily on the democratic and moral standards I was conditioned to associate with the idea of America,” Fisher says. By song’s all end, he has a realization: “You know it was never built to last.” The scary part is he may be right.

Liv Charette, “Bulletproof”

Canadian powerhouse vocalist Liv Charette follows up her debut single “That Kind of Song” with the grand Eighties vibes of “Bulletproof.” Big and brash, it’s about “the aftermath of love gone wrong,” as Charette sings in the opening verse. Her voice soars, as she wrestles with both her own pain and the harsh truth that she’s hurting more than her ex.

Clint Roberts, “Nero’s Waltz”

North Carolina artist Clint Roberts takes a satirical, darkly comic look at the collapse of civilization in “Nero’s Waltz,” the first release from his upcoming debut album. With a piano-driven roots-rock sound that should appeal to fans of Bruce Hornsby and Bob Dylan alike, Roberts examines the various means of control and people in power exerting their will on everyone else. “We don’t like the truth so we’ve made it our own,” he sings at one point. It’s a particularly resonant message at this moment in time, but it would have worked just as well 20, 30, or 50 years ago.

Caitlyn Smith featuring Old Dominion, “I Can’t”

Caitlyn Smith is joined by the award-winning group Old Dominion on “I Can’t,” a track from the deluxe edition of her second album Supernova. Old Dominion’s leader Matthew Ramsey proves himself a good foil for powerhouse vocalist Smith in the breakup tune, which moves at a relaxed pace and leans heavily on lonely, late-night atmosphere for its production. “Everything around me keeps changing, but I can’t, I can’t,” the two sing, acknowledging the difficulty of letting go.

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This Vid Of Kim Kardashian Crying Bc North Is Doing The Bare Minimum Is Peak Momager Energy

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The most insane clip of Kim Kardashian crying while North West is literally doing the bare minimum has gone viral on TikTok and all over the internet.

The TikTok from @saintbluu comes from an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians where North West performs a rap at one of Kanye West’s Yeezy fashion shows. In the video, North who is clearly following in her fathers footsteps, starts spitting insane lines like “What are those?”, “These are clothes” and my personal favourite “Wow.”

@saintbluu

not kim crying over north doing the bare minimal #FeelingGood #fyp #keepingupwiththekardashians #northwest #kanyewest

♬ original sound – saintbluu

People in the comments are losing it because Kim Kardashian is balling her eyes out…when North isn’t exactly giving the performance of her life. One person even commented “she’s probs crying because she’s embarrassed.” OOFT.

We should cut Kim some slack though, she’s just proud of her daughter and there’s nothing cuter than a proud momager. It truly is such a Kris Jenner move to start crying when your child is doing the bare minimum. It’s the equivalent of “you’re doing amazing sweetie” for the new generation.

The full video of North’s performance is even better, the way she commands the stage is highly commendable. North might not make it as a rapper, but towards the end of the video she lets out a hardcore scream, that makes me think she’d go very far in the metal scene.

After 14 years and 20 seasons, Keeping Up With The Kardashians recently announced that it would be ending for good. This comes after Kourtney Kardashian announced that she would be leaving the franchise. Welp.

Well, at least we’ll have North’s heavy metal career to look forward to.

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What happened to Frankie Muniz and why doesn’t he remember being in Malcolm in the Middle?

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Most millennials remember Frankie Muniz as the child actor who played the lead role in the hit sitcom Malcolm in the Middle in the early noughties.

Muniz’s undeniable talent and onscreen charm scored him an Emmy Award nomination and two Golden Globe Award nominations. After his TV success, Muniz was cast in big screen roles like Agent Cody Banks, Big Fat Liar and My Dog Skip. At the height of his celebrity, he was considered one of Hollywood’s most bankable teens and seemed like he was set to have a long career in front of the silver screen.

However, after some health setbacks and a decision to change career, Muniz mostly vanished from the public eye. Here’s what happened to one of the most popular child stars in the world — who is now expecting a child of his own.

Frankie Muniz of "Malcolm in the Middle"
Frankie Muniz starred in Malcolm in the Middle between 2000 and 2006. (WireImage)

What happened to Frankie Muniz?

Once Malcolm in the Middle wrapped, Muniz decided to take a step away from acting to focus on being a full time race car driver. In 2009, Muniz suffered terrible injuries from a crash and put a stop to racing.

Muniz then became a drummer for the band Kingsoil between 2012 to 2014. He toured all over the world with his band mates.

Muniz is now 34 years old and married to his long-time partner Paige Price.

Frankie Muniz. (Getty)

What disease does Frankie Muniz have?

Muniz suffers from transient ischemic attacks.

The former child star has been in and out of hospital and admitted to suffering at least 15 of these attacks. He had his first concussion when he was seven years old while playing goalie in a soccer game.

Muniz experienced severe memory loss after suffering multiple concussions and mini strokes. Throughout his young life, he’s had nine concussions. But things took a turn for the worse when he suffered a mini-stroke in 2012.

“I felt like I was getting stabbed in the head — the worst headache you could ever think of. I couldn’t see anything,” Muniz told People in December 2012.

Why doesn’t Frankie Muniz remember Malcolm in the Middle?

Due to his severe memory loss, Muniz struggles to remember his experience filming Malcolm in the Middle.

“Truth is, I don’t remember much [of Malcolm in the Middle],” he said during his recent appearance on the US version of Dancing with the Stars in 2017. “It almost feels like it wasn’t me.”

“It makes me a little sad,” Muniz added. “Things pop back into my mind [that] I should have remembered. I’ve gotten to do anything that I really wanted to do. But the truth is, I don’t really remember much of that.”

Frankie Muniz and the cast from Malcolm in the Middle. (Nine)

More recently, Muniz reflected on what it’s like to have gaps in his memory, and for the most part it doesn’t bother him.

“I only know what it’s like to be me. Or have my brain,” Muniz told People in 2019. “So, I’m only reminded of how bad my memory is when people I see, they come to me and go, ‘Oh, you remember when we did this? Remember we went on this trip to this country?’ And I have no recollection of it, but in my head, it’s not like I feel bad or sad about it.”

What is Frankie Muniz net worth?

Muniz is reportedly worth US$30 million dollars (approx. $43.3 million), according to celebritynetworth.com.

How much money did Frankie Muniz make from Malcolm in the Middle?

When Muniz started playing Malcolm, his salary was US$30,000 (approx. $43,722) per episode. But as the show became more successful, Muniz became even richer. By 2006, he was making US$120,000 (approx. $174,891) per episode.

Frankie Muniz poses for a studio portrait in 1998. (Gettty Images)

By the time Malcolm in The Middle was over, he was reportedly worth $US40 million (approx. $58.2 million).

What is Frankie Muniz doing now?

A few years ago Muniz bought a small speciality shop called Outrageous Oils & Vinegars in Arizona. In a 2019 interview with the Arizona Republic he explained what his daily schedule is like.

“My day this morning started at 6am getting up to go to Restaurant Depot to get products that we needed,” he said. “Then I got here early to start filling bottles and to make sure all the shelves were stocked. We’re not just ordering product and putting it on the shelf. We bottle everything. We label the bottles. We seal everything. We do all that ourselves here in store. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding when people come in and rave about the product.”

In May, he expressed his gratitude on Instagram for all the orders he’s received.

He captioned a snap with the product on May 22, saying: “Words can’t express our gratitude for all the orders we’ve received over the past couple of weeks. It makes @pogmuniz and I feel extremely appreciated.”

Is Frankie Muniz married?

Muniz recently got married to his long-time girlfriend Paige Price. The couple announced their engagement on November 18, 2018. They eventually tied the knot on February 21 this year. In September, they announced they were expecting their first child.

Does Frankie Muniz have social media?

You can follow Muniz on Instagram at @frankiemuniz4.

Stream complete seasons of Malcolm in the Middle for free on 9Now.

Ex-Neighbours teen Sianoa Smit-McPhee resurfaces as aspiring pop ‘icon’…and more grown-up child stars

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