One Kuwaiti influencer's new year has gotten off to a troubled start, after being accused by her fans of perpetuating racism by donning "blackface".
Make-up artist Ghadeer Sultan has been forced to defend a controversial social media post, in which she deepened her skin several shades darker with cosmetics.
The influencer, who has more than two million followers on Instagram, first posted a video sporting the make-up yesterday, with a celebratory New Year caption.
"No matter where you are from or what you believe in, we are all children of this world, and we all share it together equally," wrote Sultan. "Beauty comes in all shapes and colours, so let's love each other and celebrate our unity."
In the clip, the make-up artist wore several wigs alongside her darkened skin, as she lip-synced to 1985 track We Are the World, which was released by a super-group of musicians including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie.
Fans swiftly responded to the post, with many accusing Sultan of racial discrimination.
"Sis, that's blackface, what are you doing?" one commenter wrote, while another added: "That's racist, you know that right?"
Some, however, defended the influencer in the comments on the video, which has garnered more than 145,000 views.
"You're such a creative and a real artist," one fan wrote.
Despite the outcry, Sultan posted another image just an hour later, showing a still of the controversial make-up.
"Happy New Year," she captioned the shot, in which she wore darkened make-up and a black wig.
A follow-up post, shared several hours later, addressed the backlash, with Sultan defending her work.
"I am not racist ... I hate racism. What I’ve done is only to show what I am capable of ... I love you all," the make-up artist wrote.
"Life is meant for living. .. living with love and passion for everyone without thinking of what they are could really change your life. Think 2020 and live with passion for all people."
Her statement has not abated criticism from social media users, with many accusing the influencer of "attention-seeking".
"With how controversial and talked about blackface is, how is it still happening?" asked one poster on Reddit.
The National has reached out to Sultan for comment.