If you need to do this then you’re not worth shit

Brazilian funk star Anitta sparks new debate about skin whitening and race

Anti-discrimination campaigners say singer appears paler since signing record deal

Anitta pictured when she was a relative unknown and on stage in Brazil last month. Photograph: Mauricio Santana/Corbis

Brazil’s latest funk sensation, Anitta, has won millions of fans by taking the favela sound into the mainstream, but she is now front and centre in a resurgent debate about skin colour.

Anti-discrimination campaigners and social commentators say the music industry’s fastest rising star has had to sacrifice her blackness to make it into the predominantly white middle-class market.

The controversy was prompted by the publication of then-and-now photographs that show a dramatic lightening of Anitta’s skin tone since she signed a deal with Warner.

In the first, when she was relatively unknown, she looked darker. In the second – a marketing shot after she became famous – she seems paler. Whether this was the result of whitening products and cosmetic surgery or – more likely – Photoshop tweaks, the contrast has rekindled discussion about whether you need to be pale to get ahead in Brazil.

Jarid Arraes, a psychology student and blogger, wrote a post decrying the latent discrimination in media and marketing that she felt Anitta’s image change represented. “People refuse to accept that they are racist and they think they live in a multiracial democracy, but the statistics show that is far from the case. The whitening shows us a profoundly intolerant society that doesn’t support diversity … white is the image of the rich, the nice, the successful, the good, while people see black as the opposite of all that.”

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This is pathetic!

If you can’t accept your skin colour, then you’re not worth shit!

If you have to change your skin colour to market your music, then your music is crap. If it was any good then your skin colour wouldn’t matter.