CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian actress has faced a backlash after appearing on a TV prank show in blackface in a demeaning imitation of a Sudanese woman.
In an episode of the “Shaklabaz” program aired last week, comedian Shimaa Seif tried to annoy people on a microbus by speaking loudly in the Sudanese dialect. She then asked a man for a kiss before revealing her true identity.
Many Sudanese viewers expressed outrage on social media, calling the performance insulting and racist. Others called for boycotting the TV station and the production company, with the hashtag “boycott MBC Masr” in Arabic.
Seif told local media that the scene was not intended to offend. She said the episode was aired years ago without provoking any negative reaction.
Egypt has a large community of Sudanese refugees and migrants who have long complained of discrimination and bigotry. This is not the first time Arab TV shows with racist tropes have sparked controversy.
Last year, an Egyptian series sparked anger by mocking the Sudanese dialect and depicting darker-skinned people as being poor or lazy. The show starred comedian Samir Ghanem and his daughter, Amy Ghanem, who wore dark makeup and wigs with Rastafarian-style braids.
In another sketch aired last year on state-run Kuwait TV, an ensemble of Kuwaiti actors appeared in blackface, wearing traditional Sudanese turbans and jalabeyas, the long garment worn by men in Upper Egypt and Sudan.