Zayn Malik is many things. He's an ex boy bander. He's the boyfriend of a supermodel. He's a budding author and television producer. He is half British, half Pakistani. There are also many things Malik is not. He is not half Middle Eastern. Nor is he Black. In the past month, the singer has been falsely represented as both, in bizarre mistakes that reveal just how ignorant some people are when it comes to race and ethnicity. One university in England, Kent Union, actually used Malik as the face of its Black History Month campaign, instead of one of the legions of other outstanding, influential, talented, and actually Black musicians and artists out there, whose existence is a mere Google search away.
The above poster was initially met with genuine confusion, since, you know, Malik is not Black.
After catching wind of the poster, the Twitter account Black History Month, billed as the official U.K. guide to the month's events, criticised the school's choice to include both Malik and London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who appeared in another promotional image (he is Pakistani, not Black). Twitter erupted, agreeing that the school's decision was offensive to all minorities.
The university has posted two separate apologies on its Facebook page and has taken down the posters. Malik has not yet commented on the incident.