Burnt Cork on the Web

The following is a by no means comprehensive list of recent internet references to blackface, compiled by Michael Reinhart and Lydia Wilkinson with materials from Stephen Johnson and Patrick Robinson.

CONTEMPORARY CONTROVERSIES

On the University of Toronto Campus
The Varsity’s Blackface Charlie Brown

The November 19th 2008 ‘joke issue’ of The Varsity included a review of a fictional student production of You’re  a Good Man Charlie Brown.  The review was entitled “The New Face of Charlie Brown” and was accompanied by a photo of the cast with Charlie in blackface.

http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=161046&archive=27,16,2007
NOW Magazine comment on the Charlie Brown controversy.

http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/January2008/26/c4468.html
The University of Toronto Student Union’s response to the Charlie Brown controversy.

In Marketing
Kate Moss’s
Independent Cover
The (Red) Independent featured Kate Moss in blackface on its cover.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/sep/22/pressandpublishing.raceintheuk
A 2006 Guardian article responding to Kate Moss’s Independent cover, and also blackface characters on British television.

On the Comedy Circuit
Shirley Q. Liquor
A controversial blackface comedy act.

http://banshirleyqliquor.typepad.com/my_weblog/
A site advocating a ban on Shirley Q. Liquor shows.

RECENT SIGHTINGS

Hey Hey it’s Saturday – Red Faces (Jackson Jive)  (2009)
In October 2009, a talent-search skit on Australian TV’s Hey Hey It’s Saturday reunion show featured an Australian tribute group for Michael Jackson, the “Jackson Jive” in blackface, with the Michael Jackson character in whiteface. Guest judge Harry Connick Jr. objected to the act on the grounds that it was offensive to African Americans.

See the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0qi5sJRywY

This set off a public outcry in America…and internationally

The View: Australia is Racist
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKeo3w4RhkM

The Sydney Herald
http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/jacksonjive/2009/10/08/1254701067504.html

news.co.au
http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/television/hey-hey-its-saturday-in-red-faces-racist-row/story-e6frfmyi-1225784048432

Jackson Jive Facebook Page
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hey-Hey-Its-Saturday-The-Jackson-Jive/150595203692

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Season 6 Episode 9 : Dee Reynold’s Shaping America’s Youth

The characters have a discussion on blackface, in reference to Mac blacking-up to play Murtaugh in their reinterpretation of “Lethal Weapon 5”

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Lethal Weapon 5 Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6XKpqQIpdQ

http://cliqueclack.com/tv/2010/11/12/its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia-mac-blackface-is-never-appropriate/

http://www.avclub.com/articles/dee-reynolds-shaping-americas-youth,47381/

http://poptimal.com/2010/11/its-always-sunny-in-philadelphia-review-racial-disobedience/#.T4kiAdmN1AM

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2762943

Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas in blackface for the VMA Pre-show (2010)
Musician Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas arrives at the VMA Pre-show in blackface.

http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/william-slammed-for-blackface-vma-performance-2010129

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/sep/15/will-i-am-mtv-vmas

http://www.hollyscoop.com/william/william-blackface-outfit-causes-backlash.html

The Compton Cookout (2010)
An off-campus party of organized by students from the University of California sparks controversy.

http://www.10news.com/news/22588063/detail.html#invitation

http://threadbared.blogspot.ca/2010/02/campus-minstrelsy-on-compton-cookouts.html

NBC San Diego, Party organizer defends actions and plans “Compton Party Part Deux”
http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local-beat/UCSD-Fallout-Invite-Mocking-Other-Cultural-Stereotypes-Surfaces-84851882.html

Cupcakes in Blackface (2010)
Duncan Hines causes controversy with ‘blackface’ hip hop cupcakes.

http://eater.com/archives/2010/12/10/hip-hop-cupcakes-commercial-blackface-scandal-duncan-hines.php

Blackface on Broadway (2010)
The article discusses the controversy around Broadway musical The Scottsboro Boys which uses the minstrel tradition in its depiction of the famous Scottsboro Boys trial of 1933. The production was protested for among other things not having a racially diverse creative team.

http://www.care2.com/causes/an-all-white-creative-team-uses-blackface-minstrelsy-on-broadway.html

Blackface Toothpaste (2010)
Chinese toothpaste brand is criticized for using a blackface character in their logo.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/11/30/china-s-controversial-toothpaste.html

Beyonce’s African Queen Photoshoot (2011)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/25/beyonce-african-queen-photoshoot

http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/02/24/beyonce-in-blackface-fashionable-or-foul-critics-weigh-in-on-controversial-photo-shoot/

http://rapfix.mtv.com/2011/02/24/experts-react-to-beyonces-black-face-photo-shoot/

Blackface Cosby Costume gets university student in trouble (2011)

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2011-11-15/blackface-cosby-sorority/51214224/1

Hockey Player Raffi Torres Dresses up as Jay-Z for Halloween (2011)

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2011/11/raffi-torres-in-blackface-is-a-disgrace-to-the-nhl.html

http://www.totalprosports.com/2011/10/31/raffi-torres-jay-z-halloween-costume-faces-criticism-for-use-of-blackface/

Montreal University Students don Blackface for Frosh Event (2011)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2011/09/15/blackface-universite-montreal.html

http://www.torontosun.com/2011/09/20/montreal-school-apologizes-for-blackface-stunt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJn12-QFw2E

Billy Crystal performs Sammy Davis Jr. in Blackface during Oscars (2012)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/27/idUS200898361820120227

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/oscars-2012-billy-crystal_n_1303098.html

Swedish minister, blackface cake controversy (2012)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17749533

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/17/sweden-europe-news

….which resulted in a bomb threat:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/bomb-threat-museum-sweden-caught-racist-cake-scandal-cake-depicted-naked-african-woman-featured-actress-blackface-article-1.1063075

Full video of the performance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCK6zvWEN_Q&feature=player_embedded

Barack Obama on SNL

http://www.newsweek.com/id/123276
Newsweek contributor Joshua Alston shares his views on Saturday Night Live’s selection of white cast member Fred Armisen to play Barack Obama.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/28/AR2008022803988.html
This February 28th Washington Post article reports on responses to the casting of Fred Armisen.

Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder

http://www.buzzfeed.com/buzz/Tropic_Thunder_
Links about the film Tropic Thunder, a Ben Stiller comedy in which Robert Downey Jr. plays an actor who dyes himself black to take on a role originally written for a black character.

Sarah Silverman’s Blackface Episode

http://sarahsilvermanonline.com/2007/10/17/sarah-silverman-blackface-episode/
Sarah Silverman site with links to the episode and viewer response.

Resurrecting blackface in Japan

http://www.gosperats.com/
Official site of Japanese Minstrel act the Gosperats.

http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=3727
Response to Japanese blog site Daily Portal Z’s Barack Obama spoof.

http://www.yopress.com/japanese/japanese-style-extreme-tanning/
Blog featuring photos of Japanese style trend, extreme sunless tanning.

OPINIONS

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2007/11/11/dont_look_away/?page=1
This 2007 Boston Globe editorial by Ty Burr uses his family’s viewing of The Jazz Singer to begin a discussion about the importance of continuing to acknowledge and discuss blackface.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/03/14/ST2008031402671.html
Neely Tucker’s Washington Post article considers the recent popularity of blackface jokes in the American media.

http://technorati.com/tag/Blackface
This website consists of a list of links to blog entries on blackface, from Hollywood to comedy circuits to campuses.