Priyanka Chopra was at the Beautycon Festival in Los Angeles yesterday, where in a fireside chat style setting, she spoke on issues of women empowerment and sisterhood.
During the Q&A portion of the event, Ayesha Malik, a Pakistani-American Instagram Influencer, calling the actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador a hypocrite, asked how she could speak about humanity and peace when she had tweeted in support of the Indian armed forces during heightened tensions between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, earlier this year in February.
A video shows an event staff member taking the microphone away from Malik before she finished speaking (which was so extra and so unnecessary because she wasn’t being disrespectful!), but she can be heard yelling the rest of her question across the distance to the stage.
Jai Hind #IndianArmedForces 🇮🇳 🙏🏽
— PRIYANKA (@priyankachopra) February 26, 2019
On February 26th Chopra tweeted “Jai Hind” (Hail India or victory to India) with the hashtag #IndianArmedForces. She did this after India launched airstrikes in Pakistani territory and Pakistan responded in kind. It was a significant escalation in hostilities between the two nuclear-armed countries.
Chopra’s response, while calm and collected, and she let Malik finish, was also condescending and nonsensical AF!
Not only did she not answer the question, but she patronized Malik from the onset. Saying she has “many, many friends from Pakistan” she went on to say that while “war is not something I’m really fond of, but I am patriotic.”
Excuse me what?
I know that a humanitarian, by virtue of being a humanitarian(!) is someone who is more than just not “fond” of war, but someone who actively works to push for peace.
The ask wasn’t are you patriotic or not but rather how can you as a humanitarian profess peace for humanity and then tweet support for your country’s decision to use force instead of pushing for peace?
Chopra’s answer wasn’t good. It wasn’t good at all.
But then, she made it worse by tagging on this jibe “girl, don’t yell. We’re all here for love. Don’t embarrass yourself”. (face to palm!)
That part in particular stands out because it went completely against everything she was speaking to before the question was asked. What happened to sisterhood and supporting other women? Her condescending, patronizing, and quite frankly, petty jibes in her response were the antithesis of all of that she had just professed to support.
That’s just not a good look PeeCee!
A few things to note here:
1. Priyanka Chopra was in the position of power, she literally had the seat at the table and a mic to boot, while Malik was cut off and had to yell the rest of her question in order to be heard. And
2. Priyanka Chopra did, in fact, tweet in support of the armed forces and given her public platform, and her position as a humanitarian and global superstar, as well as the rising tensions between the nations again over the past week over India’s controversial decision regarding contentious Kashmir region, should she, or at least her team, not have been prepared for such line of questioning?
It was not a good answer at all.
I sincerely hope she issues a statement to clarify because as it stands right now, what she has essentially said is that she’s a humanitarian who has professed support for war in the name of patriotism.
It’s not a good look for her for as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for sure, but it’s also not a good look for the United Nations either.
It’ll be interesting to see how the intergovernmental organization responds to this issue. I wonder if it impacts how they select their celebrity appointments in the future. I do wonder at the selection criteria for these sorts of positions.
I think the larger conversation we should be having though is of this problem that large organizations, especially on the global scale seem to have, where they continue to conflate diversity with equity, or more accurately, diversity over anti-oppression, and how this choice has proven problematic time and time again.
Priyanka Chopra was no doubt chosen for the ambassador role because of her charitable endeavours, but also because she is a woman of colour and a global star with a huge reach, making her a powerful choice. But was she the best choice for this role given her quite blatant support for Prime Minister Modi, and his right-wing nationalistic party’s increased nationalistic and anti-minority rhetoric and policies?
This is not good on many levels. And I for one am interested in seeing how the mainstream media here in North America handles this and how Hollywood and Bollywood “progressives” jump into the fray without understanding the implications of picking a side so to speak. The concept of Global Citizenship sounds cool but without a fulsome understanding of what this means many proponents come out looking silly.
On a final note, there are many people on twitter saying that Malik should have chosen a better time and place to ask her question and how a beauty conference wasn’t the place. To those folks, I serve a huge eye roll because everything is political people and women shouldn’t be silenced from speaking truth to power wherever they have the chance to do so.