WTF Friday | TOIFA: Star-struck “brown” folks need not apply

Posted by Sadiya Ansari & filed under Current Affairs, Film.


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We haven’t done a ‘WTF Friday’ post for awhile but I thought I would sneak one in, in honour of the Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) being hosted in Vancouver this weekend.

CTV British Columbia reported that organizers for TOIFA directed contractors that they did not want “brown” people working the event — including drivers, security guards and the like. This was based on the assumption these brownies wouldn’t know how to calm their shit around Bollywood stars and potentially kidnap them like one crazy dude did.

Strange, when Rihanna came to town, I don’t recall reading a similar story about all the ridiculous Barbadian people who ought not to be allowed near the woman.

TOIFA public relations representative Laura Ballance told CTV it was an “unfortunate word choice” that wasn’t meant to be racist but the reality remains that stars like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan need protection. Which is why you hire security — oh wait, make sure they aren’t brown because you know their brains will just stop working on the job as their sense of reason becomes paralyzed by these ethereal, magical beings.

Saying brown people can’t work the event is racist. All brown people aren’t Indian and all Indians don’t want to kidnap Bollywood stars. It seems hilariously stupid to have to clarify this.

STARS HAVE STALKERS. That is part of the price of celebrity. The person who wants to kidnap a Bollywood star is not your local security guard just trying to do his or her job and pay the bills.

Hosting this award show has been steeped in controversy since the provincial government’s announced in January it would be contributing $11 million to host Bollywood stars in our fair city, many accusing Christy Clark’s Liberals of pandering to the “ethnic vote.” (Just another reminder, brown people aren’t just going to vote for you cause you hosted an event that brown people flew in for.)

The so-called ethnic voter bloc was also pretty unimpressed with the little plan Ms. Clark and her staff put together to win their hearts and minds of voters with “quick wins” like apologizing for horrendous events that had already been apologized for — like turning away 356 Indians who came via sea on the Komagata Maru in 1914.

By the way, what most people don’t know is that 19 of those passengers were shot and killed upon arrival to India because they were seen as political agitators by the British Raj. Apologizing again for this won’t change any of that. Neither will hosting glitzy Bollywood stars nearly 100 years later.

In sum, WTF??

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