Chinese Influencer Under Fire Over 'Wakanda Queen' Blackface Tutorial

An influencer has come under fire online after a video of wearing black makeup resurfaced online.

Suzy_Z_ is an influencer popular on Chinese site Bilibili, where she has over 1 million followers. In April 2020, the influencer shared a video in which she darkened her skin using black makeup, and introduced herself as the "Wakanda Queen."

A year later and the video has been discovered far wider than just China, and has caused backlash online over the apparent use of blackface.

The video sees Suzy cover her whole top half in dark makeup before continuing with the tutorial. "This is Suzy aka Wakanda Queen," she introduced at the start, referencing the fictional African country in Black Panther.

A loose translation of the video's title reads: "Wakanda beauty bloggers settled in Station B (Bilibili)? Can you see me? It's me who is the darkest on the whole network."

The tutorial was a part of the influencer's "Global Series" on her channel, which also features a video where she dresses up in Indian clothing and again darkened her skin. In that post, she claimed the makeup smelt "like curry" but apologized in a pinned comment, explaining that she didn't mean to cause offense.

At the time, the video that features blackface was well received on Bilibili, where it currently has over 1.14 million likes. However, popular TikTok account @yourhellbringer shared a clip on October 22, followed by Instagram account @blackandasiansoulsunite eight days later.

"WTF did I just find," wrote @yourhellbringer, gaining over 2.7 million views on the re-upload.

Suzy seemingly did not create the look with the idea of causing offense, and even agreed with a comment that the black skin was beautiful, but the deep-rooted racist history of blackface is hard to ignore.

"When I tell you my jaw dropped" wrote one displeased TikTok user.

"Everyday I lose hope in humanity" wrote another user.

Despite going viral for all the wrong reasons, many TikTok users expressed confusion over why the act was offensive. When the post was shared to Reddit six months ago, comments were blocked by moderators over the "overwhelming amount of racist and trolling comments."

For many, the video and lack of shock in the Bilibili comments to the video, are representative of the lack of awareness surrounding blackface in China, where most forms of social media are banned. "Blackface isn't very educated about in Asia. A lot of people actually don't know it's wrong, so people can't expect the whole world to be as 'woke'," wrote one user.

Earlier this year, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV received criticism after broadcasting a performance using blackface during the Lunar New Year variety show. The performance featured dancers wearing blackface on stage and wearing costumes during the "African Song and Dance."

In 2018, the same show similarly featured a comedy sketch on Chinese-African relations using an actor in blackface and with exaggerated buttocks.

Newsweek was unable to contact Suzy for comment.

Wakanda queen makeup tutorial
Left: Stock image of makeup. Right: "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" movie poster (Marvel Studios) Getty Images