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Kelly Khumalo hits back at 'blackface' criticism: I hope one day we see beyond skin colour

21 September 2020 - 07:00 By kyle zeeman
Kelly Khumalo has shrugged off the hate.
Kelly Khumalo has shrugged off the hate.
Image: Instagram/Kelly Khumalo

Kelly Khumalo has hit back at criticism she got for darkening her skin in a recent music video, telling TshisaLIVE she hopes one day people will be able to look past complexion and not see art as a threat against their skin colour.

Kelly got tongues wagging when she released the music video for her hit single Empini. The video features a darkened Kelly dressed in ancient Egyptian royal clothing, meant to represent Bastet, the goddess of protection.

While many applauded the creativity of the video, some criticised Kelly for darkening her skin.

She told TshisaLIVE that causing offence was the last thing on her mind when shooting the video and that it was sad that so many thought a “simple piece of art” was a threat against their skin colour.

“I knew the criticism would come. I cannot blame them, a lot has happened where black people are concerned. It is such a shame that we see everything as a threat against our skin colour, even something as simple as art.

“I hope one day we get to a point where we see beyond skin colour. It is going to take a lot and I pray to God that we heal from all these things. But, having said that, Empini is simply art.”

She said African warriors would camouflage themselves when going to war, even darkening their skin if necessary.

“There is a story behind all this, and behind (her latest album) The Voice of Africa. Courage. Strength. Wealth. Power.”

Kelly recently released another single from the album, Esphambanweni, featuring gospel star Hlengiwe Mhlaba.

The song has topped local music service trend lists and Kelly said she was humbled by the reception the song had got so far.

“When I wanted to find someone who reflected the Voice of Africa, like the title of my album, I thought of Hlengiwe. She is an incredibly talented musician and someone who was a perfect fit for the project.”