An actress who was an extra in the popular HBO series Lovecraft Country called out the media platform for darkening her skin. Kelli Amirah posted the claims on TikTok, stating that makeup artists on the show’s set used foundation to make her appear darker in order to look more like an older version of a character she played on the show.
“My makeup kept getting darker, and darker,” Amirah says in the video. She says she was on her phone while the artists were doing her makeup and says the role was her first major acting job so far.
Before showing a photo of the final result of the makeup she said, “Before I show these pictures, I’m going to preface this by saying I was so uncomfortable. I had no idea they were going to do this to me and if I knew beforehand I would not have accepted the job.”
Cultural organizer Amber J. Phillips first spoke about the incident while providing the historical context of Blackface, and calling out the actress for, as Phillips says in a video posted to social media, "casually participat[ing] in the violence that is...colorism." In a thread on Twitter and an Instagram Live video, Phillips pointed out that Amirah "couldn't see how deeply troubling this was for anyone but herself," Phillips wrote in a tweet.
Amirah’s video went viral, thanks to Phillips' work of pointing out that the incident was "an ACTUAL example of Blackface and colorism," which prompted a response from HBO.
“We were very disappointed to learn of Ms. Amirah’s experience,” a spokesperson for HBO said to People. “This should not have happened, and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again in the future.”
Amirah addressed some of the critique and apologized on Twitter.
This story has been updated and corrected with proper crediting of Amber J. Phillips' work.
Photo Credit: Getty Images