Camila Cabello defends dancer accused of wearing ‘blackface’ during TV performance for her new single

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Camila Cabello attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images
Camila Cabello attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/ FilmMagic/ Getty Images

The 24-year-old singer addressed the criticism on Twitter on Sunday after critics took issue with the heavy stage makeup worn by dancer, Dylan Pearce, while performing Cabello’s new single “Don’t Go Yet,” likening the look to blackface.

“Camila, what was going on with Dylan’s makeup? Having a dancer do blackface on stage in 2021 is absurd, and you know better than that! say something immediately,” one Twitter user wrote.

Cabello issued a statement shortly after receiving backlash for Pearce’s look.

“So this dude was just supposed to be a white man with a terrible spray tan,” Cabello wrote.

“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., 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.”

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Cabello also shared a shot of Pearce from the Tonight Show, showing the dancer in an unbuttoned magenta shirt, khaki slacks and white sneakers. He was also styled with a mullet and gold chain necklace. “The point was to try to make each person look like an over-the-top 80’s character just like in the video, including a white dude with a terrible orange spray tan,” she added.

Pearce also shared the same photo, writing, “In case you missed my spray tan last night on @jimmyfallon with @camilla_cabello.”

In the official music video for “Don’t Go Yet,” which dropped Friday, Cabello embraces her Cuban-Mexican heritage in several scenes centred around a family gathering as she shows off her dance moves.

In conversation with Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1, the artist said that her hope for the single — and her upcoming album  Familia —is to “manifest collective joy.”

“I want it to be that kind of family affair selfishly because it would make me happy. It would make my life better, and that’s what I want, so that’s really what I was trying to manifest with this whole album,” she explained.

Cabello continued, “I think ‘Don’t Go Yet’ is just sonically and melodically just me being free. I think being in Miami for so long and having more family around me and speaking Spanish more just kind of brought me back. I think my roots went deeper in a way that I really needed.”

“Don’t Go Yet” is Cabello’s first release since her 2019 album, Romance. A release date for Familia has not yet been announced.

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