Liza Soberano at the 2019 ABS-CBN Ball 2019 red carpet
Philstar.com/Kat Leandicho
Liza Soberano bashed for black face, actress apologizes
Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, Jan Milo Severo (Philstar.com) - September 18, 2019 - 10:42am

MANILA, Philippines — Actress Liza Soberano received criticism from all over the world when she recently posted her video commercial for a Filipino fast food chain brand, showing her impersonating members of the ‘90s girl group Spice Girls.

Fans were particularly offended by Liza’s portrayal of “Scary Spice,” Melanie Brown or Mel B.

“As someone who is half-Black, this is NOT appreciation at all. No hate to Liza as this might not have been her idea at all. I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt, but I’m absolutely disgusted and disappointed with the Creative Directors for thinking this is okay. Jollibee, y’all can’t seem to do anything right. Yikes,” an Internet user commented on Liza’s post.

“They didn’t have to darken Liza’s skin just to give the ‘diva singer’ effect,” another Internet user said.

“As a black woman, the ad for Jolibee although fun and creative, was a little bit insensitive. Portrayal of a singer should be able to be done without the need to wear an Afro or delve into cultural aspects that are used for purely costume purposes and nothing more. Wear braids, wear an African wrapper, wear an Afro, but the minute any of those start being used as a costume and not of cultural significance and respect, that’s when it becomes disrespectful,” added another.

“When that scene of you wearing the afro costume portraying mel b. appeared on my screen, i got hurt, as well as a multitude of you're other black fans ...an ensemble which should only e used for cultural purposes and promoting traditional african beauty is being showcased as a mere costume for a fries advertisment is incredibly disrespectful,” pointed out another user.

The black face transformation of a non-colored actor has been a hot topic in recent years due to alleged political incorrectness or cultural misappropriation that could lead to lost opportunities for hiring actors from different ethnicities. 

At first, Liza defended her “costume.”

“This is not any form of black face,” she replied to a comment on her Instagram post. “It’s a costume just like how any other person would dress up if they were portraying a famous character. In this case its Mel B.”

Later on, the actress, who was also formerly criticized for alleged black face for portraying an indigenous character in her now defunct TV series “Bagani,” apologized on Twitter.

“Before everything gets out of hand I would like to apologize for those affected by my comments about the whole ‘black face’ issue. It wasn’t of my intention to mock anyone of any culture or ethnicity,” she said in her first post.

“I understand that this is a sensitive topic and that I should’ve kept my mouth shut. For now on I will try to be more educated about matters like this to make sure I don’t make careless mistakes like this again in the future,” she second in another post.

“Cultural appropriation is an issue that is deep rooted in society which I am still educating myself on. I’ve read your comments and tweets and I honestly do understand where this backlash has come from… I am thankful to everyone educating me in the comments,” she said.

 

Liza’s controversial advertisement was for the new Crispy Spice Fries of Filipino fast food chain Jollibee.

During her recent launch as endorser, Soberano gave an update on her injured finger that underwent surgery in the USA recently. 

Liza told the press, including Philstar.com, that she felt stronger now after the surgery, but admitted that her finger is still in the healing stage. 

“I don't need to worry about it anymore. I felt a lot stronger, healthier and even more inspired to work harder kasi parang ever since that injury, parang I lost confidence talaga in myself. A lot of people know that. Now I feel at my 100 percent best. I'm excited to start working,” Liza said. 

When asked if she will be extra careful this time after the injury, Liza said she needs to be careful so she can play volleyball in the future.  

“Of course kasi it's not fully healed yet so I need to take that into consideration, but I don't want it to get on the way in everything that parang kailangan ko laging isipin na, 'Ay hindi kaya ng daliri kong gawin to.' But of course, but in this stage of healing palang I need to be careful but hopefully in the future I get to play volleyball again and I can do outdoor activities like I used to.”

LIZA SOBERANO
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