Why depicting 'brownface' characters is no joke

E-payment firm Nets has been excoriated for its most recent advertising campaign to promote cashless payments, with politicians and netizens calling out the campaign as racist and offensive. Disseminated online and in hawker centres, the advertisement featured Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew portraying four characters, including a woman in a tudung and a man with visibly darker skin.

The ad was quickly labelled "brownface" by critics and drew responses, including from YouTuber Preeti Nair and her brother Subhas Nair who produced an online rap video condemning it.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2019, with the headline Why depicting 'brownface' characters is no joke. Subscribe