Entertainment

Here’s Your Yearly Reminder That Blackface For Your Halloween Costume Ain’t It, Y’all

Finally, October has arrived. The time for pumpkins, candy, and costumes are upon us, meaning we all have the chance to channel our inner child and let loose for one night a year (it’s more like one week if we’re honest). But with the season of dressing up for fun comes the inevitable scourge of costumes the internet exposes of blatantly racist and offensive Halloween costumes. We’re talking, of course, about blackface. 

Here is a Halloween PSA for everyone: black skin is not an “accessory” to your costume in the same way that plastic vampire fangs or a witch’s hat can be.

The cultural and historical baggage that blackface holds in America is reason enough to simply banish it as an option to add to your Halloween costume. Every year, black people and POCs are again reminded of how ignorant some non-POCs are when it comes to the history and baggage that attached to wearing blackface. No, it doesn’t matter if you’re “well-intentioned” or “just having fun”, blackface is never an acceptable addition to a costume. Period. Seeing white people use Halloween as an excuse to paint their face black has long been something that black people have silently fumed over. But thankfully, the tides are turning and that time of silence is coming to an end.

Blackface has a long and painful cultural legacy in the United States. The “tradition” of blackface goes back to at least the 1800s, when white entertainers would paint their faces black, their lips red, and wear wigs and “rag” clothing to impersonate what they believed black people acted like. These minstrel shows were incredibly popular in the US and beyond. Their widespread popularity served to reinforce racist and negative stereotypes that gave evidence to the belief that black people were fundamentally different from white people. The practice dehumanized and degraded Black Americans. 

The argument that painting your face black is simply an homage to your favorite character ignores the painful history behind changing one’s skin tone as a means of entertainment. 

 Black skin is not a costume. It is not an accessory. It is something that millions of black people have been enslaved, persecuted, and killed over. Wearing blackface as a white person simply reinforces and emphasizes the cultural dominance white people have–and the blatant disregard so many of them have for what black people continue to explain is offensive. The fact that ⅓ of Americans still believe that blackface is acceptable for a Halloween costume proves that white supremacy is real. It may be subtle or unconscious, but it is alive and well.

 As Professor George Yancy said in his powerful New York Times essay, blackface is “a performance historically grounded in white supremacy”. The fact that so many white people still insist that POCs are “too sensitive” or “can’t take a joke” or are “taking it the wrong way” when they’re caught in the act of blackface is part of what makes it so offensive. In essence, it is an attempt to erase centuries of historical trauma by claiming that it is “all in good fun”. 

If you still doubt that dressing in blackface for Halloween is as problematic as we claim, look no further than Twitter to absolve you of that notion.

Sometimes, the only way to fully understand a concept is to read about it in 280 characters.

This person gave an on-point example of how to pull off Halloween costumes of black characters without changing your skin tone:

Another point that’s worth noting: black characters, celebrities, and public figures are more than the color of their skin. It should be easy to portray the essence of who a person is without painting your skin black.

This person has a creative solution of how to avoid the inevitable scandal that is sure to fill our news feeds this October:

Admittedly, that’s one way to solve the problem. A better way? Simply understand that the practice is unacceptable. 

This person has pretty detailed directions on how to choose a non-problematic costume this year:

Yes, costumes that appropriate a marginalized group’s culture are also something to 100% steer clear of. Again, the reason lies in the history of white supremacy, the violent history of Western dominance, and the historical oppression of POCs.

This person shared some iron-clad advice for non-POCs heading into the Halloween season:

It’s ironic that the advice is so simple, but it seems to be so hard for so many people to follow! Here’s to hoping that this year will be different. 

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People Are Trying To Cancel Jimmy Kimmel After A Blackface Video And Audio Of Him Using The N-Word Go Viral

Things That Matter

People Are Trying To Cancel Jimmy Kimmel After A Blackface Video And Audio Of Him Using The N-Word Go Viral

Getty Images / Getty Images for Global Citizen

Not long ago, people were dragging Jimmy Fallon around Twitter for an incident of blackface. Jimmy Kimmel was mentioned but it wasn’t until recently that the talk show host has had to face his one moments of blackface and using the N-word.

Jimmy Kimmel is facing his own past of blackface and racist language.

Celebrities are being held accountable for their racist pasts from old social media posts to videos of them in blackface. Jimmy Kimmel is the latest target after videos of him in blackface numerous times and a recording of him saying the N-word have gone viral.

An audio clip of Kimmel using the N-word has also circulated on social media.

In 1996, Kimmel imitated Snoop Dogg on a Christmas album called “A Family Christmas In Your Ass.” Kimmel used the N-word in the lyrics of the song that was used to imitate Snoop Dogg. In a podcast from January 2013, Kimmel was asked about his Snoop Dogg impersonation and he admitted that he liked to impersonate Black people.

Kimmel issued an apology that was just off the mark.

Kimmel attempts to address the controversy but he doesn’t fully own up to what he had done. Kimmel doesn’t address the blackface by name. Instead, Kimmel vaguely addresses the issues of both blackface and using the N-word.

Kimmel argues that part of the backlash he is facing is from conservative voices who are upset with him. Kimmel has been very vocal against President Trump and his attacks on vulnerable communities. Kimmel argues in his apology that most of the anger is an attempt to silence him against Trump.

There are some people on social media who agree with Kimmel’s argument but still want to see him dragged.

Kimmel’s apology clearly is not helping him with his case. It wasn’t long ago that Jimmy Fallon was the focus because of his blackface moment in “Saturday Night Live.” The pressure is on when it comes to race and racial justice in this country. People have to be held accountable for their actions.

READ: Jimmy Fallon Apologizes For Wearing Blackface In 2000 ‘SNL’ Sketch

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Jimmy Fallon Apologizes For Wearing Blackface In 2000 ‘SNL’ Sketch

Entertainment

Jimmy Fallon Apologizes For Wearing Blackface In 2000 ‘SNL’ Sketch

jimmyfallon / Instagram

Jimmy Fallon is the latest celebrity to face consequences from blackface clips resurfacing. The talk show host and comedian is facing backlash after a clip of him on “Saturday Night Live” impersonating Chris Rock in blackface resurfaced.

A 20-year-old clip of Jimmy Fallon in blackface on “SNL” impersonating Chris Rock.

The clip is circulating on social media and has sparked a debate over cancel culture and blackface in our society. The comedian is the latest in a line of prominent people that have had to apologize for offensive images of them in blackface resurfacing. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and fellow comedian Sarah Silverman have also apologized publicly for moments of blackface in their past.

Fallon owned up to the incident and tweeted an apology.

People have come to Fallon’s defense since the video has resurfaced. One of those people is Jaime Foxx.

“He was doing an impression of Chris Rock. It wasn’t black face [sic],” Foxx commented on an E! News Instagram post. “We comedians, I know it’s a tough time right now. But this one is a stretch. On a show called ‘In Living Color’ we played every race. Let this one go. We got bigger fish to fry … #changecourse.”

The revelation of Fallon in blackface brought a clip of Jimmy Kimmel in blackface to light.

Fallon fans are calling on social media to give Kimmel a similar treatment because of his own example of blackface for comedic appeal. Kimmel’s blackface incident hasn’t caused as big of a reaction as Fallon’s.

Social media users are in a fierce debate over what Fallon’s fate should be in the time of cancel culture.

Blackface has a long and documented history of oppression in the United States. The practice of blackface dates back to the 1830s in the U.S. and it later caught on in Britain. Blackface was usually used in minstrel shows that would play on stereotypes of Black people and helped in the proliferation of racism and prejudice.

Some people are trying to make whiteface a thing but Twitter users are not having it.

Critics are quick to differentiate blackface from whiteface because of their historical context. While blackface has a direct link to racism, slavery, and Jim Crow, whiteface is different according to critics. Whiteface does not build itself on racism, oppression, and racial segregation.

What do you think about the Jimmy Fallon blackface clip?

READ: Bad Bunny Honored A Murdered Trans Woman During Jimmy Fallon In Simple And Powerful Way

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