The lyrics changed have sparked outrage over colorism, which is discrimination based on the color of someone’s skin, and forced filmmakers to change the lyrics for a second time.
Because the film had not sought permission from the singer to use her trademarked name, the song first changed its spelling from “Beyoncé” to “Beyonse.” However, after criticism that the lyrics are racist, the song’s refrain will change to say, “Watching you, oh fair-skinned girl, the world will be ashamed.”
Several songs over decades glorify light skin, which is considered an attractive feature in movies where a hero falls for a heroine.
In a song called “Chittiyan Kalaiyaan,” or “Light-Skinned Wrists,” the woman’s character dances to a song asking the man to take her shopping and to the movies because she’s light-skinned.
Another song called “Dil Dance Maare Re” blatantly starts with, “Seeing a white face, my heart beats faster.”
In the 1990s, the hit song “Kala Chashma,” or “Black Shades,” was about the singer’s admiration for a woman and how great black shades looked on her fair skin. It was recently remixed and found widespread popularity.
A song from the ’60s has a man swooning over a fair-skinned woman, asking her to not discount him for his dark skin because he loves her.
Why the outrage now?
Several movies and songs over the past few years have had lyrics changed following backlash. Some songs were criticized by religious groups, some by caste communities.
But with the Black Lives Matter movement now making a global impact, public outrage has been loud enough that filmmakers have listened.