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Kelli Amirah, an actress who featured in HBO’s popular sci-fi series, “Lovecraft Country,” has alleged in a TikTok video that the series’ makeup artists darkened her skin using foundation.
She says this one done so that Amirah could better resemble the older version of a character she portrayed.
The young actress claimed that while she was on set in a makeup trailer, he overheard the makeup artists saying that she looked “a little lighter” than the other actress.
She said that slowly, the foundation used on her skin got “darker and darker.”
“Before I show these pictures, I’m going to preface this by saying I was so uncomfortable,” she said. “I had no idea they were going to do this to me beforehand. And if I knew beforehand, I would not have accepted this job,” Amirah said. “Who thought this was a good idea?”
Amirah, who made a brief appearance in a photo during the episode, added, “As soon as we wrapped, I went right back to hair and makeup to ask for some makeup wipes because I refused to go out in the world like that.”
She was hired and paid $100 to pose for a picture as a young Ms. Osberta (who was played by the late Carol Sutton) on her wedding day. Amirah responded to criticism from viewers of her TikTok video, condemning her for not speaking out at the time.
“I’ve been getting a lot of very valid critiques for my complacency in allowing Lovecraft Country to darken my skin as a photo double for some set photography briefly featured in an episode,” she wrote. “It’s uncomfortable but it’s not wrong. I was weak and complacent in that moment.”
Amirah explained that she was not informed that her skin would be too light to play the role when she was cast. Nobody said anything to her regarding her light complexion during fitting days either.
“Even then, I thought ‘maybe they just meant a couple shades’ I’m sure it won’t be much more than a tan,” she said. “And then they just kept painting me darker. So here I am, in the makeup trailer of a major network production with the lead stars of the show, and they’re putting me in blackface.”
HBO responded to the backlash:
“We were very disappointed to learn of Ms. Amirah’s experience,” a spokesperson for HBO told TheWrap in a statement. “This should not have happened, and we are taking steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again in the future.”