Dance group accused of donning BLACKFACE

White Czech dancers are accused of ‘racism’ and ‘cultural appropriation’ after performing a ceremonial haka with imitation Māori tattoos – as critics say it’s the equivalent to ‘blackface’

  • Group of women in Czech Republic were filmed dancing to a Bollywood song
  • Choreographer Jarmila Chromíková posted clip on Instagram with #bollyhaka
  • Responses have accused the group of ‘blackface’ and cultural appropriation  

A group of white Czech dancers have been accused of racism and cultural appropriation after a video emerged showing them performing a ceremonial haka with imitation Māori tattoos painted on their faces. 

The original footage was uploaded to Instagram by self-proclaimed Bollywood dancer and choreographer Jarmila Chromíková, who shared it with the caption: ‘When the girls have Haka on the hook’ with hashtags including #bollyhaka, #facepainting, #dancefusion and #newzealandinspiration.  

It was re-posed by social media users including Shaneel Lal, who called out the ‘dangerous’ and ‘blatantly racist’ behaviour in a post shared with 37,000 Instagram followers. 

The sentiment was echoed by critics including Māori cultural adviser Karaitiana Taiuru, who told the New Zealand Herald the performance was the equivalent of ‘blackface’.

A group of white Czech dancers have been accused of racism and cultural appropriation after a video emerged showing them performing a ceremonial haka with imitation Māori tattoos painted on their faces. Their photos were shared on Instagram by Shaneel Lal

A group of women (pictured) in the Czech Republic have been blasted for performing a Haka to a Bollywood song, while wearing black face paint

He said the video ‘represents an emerging trend of online caricature depicting Māori as savage, uneducated and aggressive people, disguised as humour in the same manner that the Black Face is/was to African Americans.

‘This is blatant racism that frankly impacts all Māori and especially impacts those Māori who choose to revive our ancient customs of facial tattoos called Ta Moko (men) and Moko Kauae (females).’

Meanwhile Shaneel shared a lengthy caption on their Instagram account saying: ‘A group of white women got together and did the ‘BOLLYHAKA.’ In other words, wearing Black face and doing the Haka on Bollywood songs.

‘The absolute audacity of these colonesians. @jarmila_chromikova what kind of behaviour is this? This is no longer innocent behaviour – it’s blatant racism. It’s dangerous.

‘Sometimes they imitate cultural tattoos and other times, they put on Black face and call it ‘bad makeup.’ 

Self-proclaimed Bollywood dancer Jarmila Chromíková took to Instagram to share the footage with hashtags including, #bollyhaka, #facepainting, #dancefusion and #newzealandinspiration

Shaneel Lal who boasts almost 37,000 followers, accused the dancers of blackface and explained how it can reinforce negative stereotypes 

‘Blackface is part of a history of dehumanization, of denied citizenship, and of efforts to excuse and justify state violence. From lynchings to mass incarceration, whites have utilized Blackface (and the resulting dehumanization) as part of its moral and legal justification for violence.

‘It is time to stop with the dismissive arguments those that describe these offensive acts as pranks, ignorance and youthful indiscretions.’  

A flood of responses criticised the group, with one writing: ‘Man this is straight up offensive! Where is your research girls? Do you even know what those marks mean? Even the whole dance is not clean and it really looks like you all are just trying to muck about.’  

Another said: ‘This is disgusting! Focus on your own cultures before you start tampering with other people’s cultures’  

A stream of responses to the thread accused the group of not doing their research before filming the performance 

However others argued the video is insensitive to the Māori culture, but said the dancers aren’t doing black face and didn’t intend to be racist. 

One person wrote: ‘This is wrong as hell… but that isn’t blackface though… the makeup that was done on the white women, is what Polynesians do as a culture practice. But yes, THIS IS A NO NO’

Another said: ‘This ain’t the same as black face, this is b******* and shouldn’t be done but it ain’t the same as black face that’s a whole other thing.’

A third added: ‘That’s face paint drawn on in different styles not blackface, just because you mark your face with black paint does not mean it’s blackface.’  

Others said the dancers weren’t wearing black face but are still offending the Māori culture

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