Singer Camila Cabello came under fire after her performance on July 23 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as some fans accused her of featuring a dancer in blackface makeup. The 24-year-old star insisted the dancer, Dylan Pearce, was supposed to be a "white man with a terrible spray tan." Some of her fans were still not happy with her explanation though.
Pearce was among the dancers behind Cabello as she sang her new single "Don't Go Yet" live for the first time. The performance was supposed to have a 1980s vibe, with dancers of different ethnicities behind Cabello. Fans were shocked by Pearce though, as his tan makeup with bright white circles around his eyes made it appear as if he was wearing blackface. Cabello's name began trending on Twitter after The Tonight Show aired as more and more people complained.
On July 24, Cabello issued a response to the situation but did not apologize. Instead, she explained the rationale for the multicultural makeup of her dancers. "Hey! So this dude was just supposed to be a white man with a terrible spray tan," she wrote. "We purposefully tried to pull together a multicultural group of performers, the expectation was not that everyone in the performance needed to be Latin."
"There are white people, African American people, Latin people, etc. and so the point wasn't to try to make everyone look Latin either. There are a lot of people in the performance who are not," she continued. "The point was to try to make each person look like an over-the-top 80's character just like in the video, including a white dude with a terrible orange spray tan." Cabello also attached a screenshot of Pearce's Instagram Story post, in which he referred to the makeup as a "spray tan."
Cabello's response to the backlash did not please many. Some also pointed to an alleged Instagram Story post from Pearce in which he compared his look to a dark-skinned emoji. "Instead of trying to find an excuse for that man, you should at least apologize to the community you have offended. disappointed smh," one person wrote. "I just feel like you don't understand the gravity of the situation and I love you but I'm very disappointed with this statement and how you decided to handle this a lot of us are feeling like you just don't care and I wish you would do better," another wrote.
Cabello released the video for "Don't Go Yet" on July 22 and it already has over 19.7 million views. It is the lead single for her first album since she released Romance in 2019. The song will be featured on her next album, Familia.