The performer of the World Cup anthem Miriam Fares “successfully cut out” footage from a music video in which the singer performs with a black face.
Taken from her 2018 track “Goumi”, the song has now been edited and updated on YouTube after coming under criticism.
“We are now very aware of the offensiveness that escaped our attention when we launched the music video, as it was never intentional,” her team said (via Rolling Stone). “When Miriam moved to the international level, we noticed that it could be offensive.”
The statement continued: “We never intended to raise any sensitive issue as we really didn’t mean any offense, we just wanted to portray the beauty of women from different cultures.”
According to Fares management, there were several attempts to edit the music video earlier, but the requests were rejected by YouTube because the platform did not consider the request a “valid reason”.
In addition, the management team added that they were told that “the coverage of the PR problem due to the blackface is definitely not a good reason to contact us for help in replacing the video” on YouTube. Presumably, this happened because its rules “clearly state that the removal/modification of an important, political or controversial plot point is not allowed.”
Although Fares’ team could have just shot the video and uploaded the newly edited footage, this would have meant that the track would have lost the views already accumulated. Eventually, an agreement was made with YouTube, meaning that problematic images could be removed from the original download.
Almost a minute and a half of the footage was removed from the video, and now only the singer in a natural skin tone performs the same choreography on it.
“Goumi” caused controversy almost immediately after its release — numerous Arabic-language media and fans criticized the Lebanese singer for the video. “In no case should a non—black Arab be allowed to dye his skin black or conform to black culture,” Mille World wrote in 2018. “slave” is still used interchangeably with “black”.
Last year, Fares collaborated with Nicki Minaj and Maluma on the 2022 World Cup anthem “Tukoh Taka”.
Released on the eve of the event, this track became the first song of the FIFA World Cup, in which the lyrics are in English, Spanish and Arabic.