Welcome to the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge! Throughout the 28 days of February, my posts will not (necessarily) be about HR, Leadership or Management topics.
Black Face goes back about 100 years when White performers would wear grease paint on their faces and exaggerate their lips and smiles to mock Black features. Then they would perform songs and skits mocking slaves and other stereotypes of Black people.
Black Face minstrel performances were widely accepted and quite lucrative well into the 1950s. As conversation about racism and movements toward civil rights for Black people became mainstream conversation, these performances became less popular and accepted. Their popularity finally faded.
Or did it?
We still see actors, models and Halloween party-goers donning Black Face from time-to-time for roles, campaigns and supposed fun. Modern Black Face is different from Cultural Appropriation, where one is taking from another culture without giving proper credit or context. Modern Black Face gives full credit to its inspiration, calling it sincere imitation and stylized art.
I defended this once on the blog, when Billy Crystal dressed as Sammie Davis Jr on the Oscars a few years ago. Check out that post HERE.
Since then, I’ve become more Woke and I realize there is space and need in the world to be upset about both the major things and the minor things. Because the minor things that become major when not called out early on.
With the lack of understanding across races, ethnicities and cultures today, there isn’t an appropriate time, place or reason to imitate or create art of another person by altering your features or coloring to look more like them.
Don’t do it.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 11 – Hand Up and Hand Outs