African woman who auditioned for ‘racist’ Chinese TV gala show speaks out on blackface row

When Beijing-based Nigerian Gloria Brown auditioned in October for a part in one of the world’s most-watched television programmes, she had no idea the role she was destined not to get would spark a global debate on China’s attitudes towards racism.

The role Brown was hoping to play was that of an African mother in a 13-minute skit for state broadcaster CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala. The sketch was intended as a celebration of Sino-African relations, but after a Chinese actress in blackface was eventually chosen to play the role, it instead triggered allegations of discrimination and prejudice around the world.

“Many of my friends posted [about the show] on WeChat,” Brown, 38, said. “Africans posted, Americans posted, Chinese posted.

“Ninety per cent of the people who…

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