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A not so funny story about the blackface



It is until recently.

With blackface and its painful past in the headlines, it is about why the offensive practice has sometimes been played for laughs during entertainment.

"Saturday Night Live" was proclaimed social media after it had sent a rubbish in the past weekend, hitting fun at the democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's current controversy.

Northam has been urged to resign from a racist image entrusted to his 1984 book page showing that a person was wearing blackface and another in a KKK hood.

The governor refused to be in the picture, but said he darkened his skin to imitate singer Michael Jackson for a dance competition in 1
984.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has also admitted to donating blackface as part of a costume.

In the "SNL" shooter, comedian Kenan Thompson, who is black, plays a chosen state official to stress a room filled with other government officials that it is never

When one of the characters claims Blackface was "fun and cool in the 80s", says Thompson's character, "it still counts and it was never fun or cool."

Twitter users were quick to point out that "SNL" has its own blackface story, including actors like Fred Armisen and Billy Crystal, darkening their skin to play President Barack Obama, Prince and Sammy Davis Jr.

An NBC spokesman did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

Armisen, whose mother is Venezuelan, and whose father is of German and Korean heritage, told the New York Magazine's Intelligencer pillar that he wore honey-colored makeup to depict Obama, who is biracial.

"There are shadows on my eyebrows and plastic behind my ears," said Armisen. "And there's a little something called Honey, a honey color, that's something I want to wear when I play the prince."

The show's co-author and executive producer Lorne Michaels told Washington Post at the time that "SNL" had auditioned four to five actors to play Obama, including Thompson. The army was the best qualified, according to Michaels.

"It's not about race," he said. "It's about getting an impression on Obama, where it serves comedy and writing."

Mia Moody-Ramirez, Professor and Director of Baylor University's Journalism, Public Relations and New Media Department's Candidate Program, told CNN that she believes there was not so much screaming about some of the "SNL" sketches because of that context. in which they were offered.

"I think these representations on" Saturday Night Live "may be more acceptable because it is not necessarily a negative representation of African Americans," said Moody-Ramirez, adding that she did not see the sketches.

Traditionally, the blackface cases that have been discussed in the media are portrayed as lazy or not as intelligent and different facial features were highlighted, "she said." And therefore, these particular representations were negative. As far as & # 39; Saturday Night Live & # 39; and the portrayals of President Obama, I think they may have been more accepted because they do not necessarily try to show him in a stereotypical way. was for the sake of humor. "

Blackface in comedy is not limited to late night shows.

Related: Katy Perry faces criticism of shoe design similar to blackface

In 1986, C. Thomas Howell played a white student lying on being black to catch a Harvard scholarship in the movie "Soul Man."

Robert Downey Jr. received very little setback in 2008 when he put dark makeup on the movie "Tropic Thunder" where he played Kirk Lazarus, a Australian actor undergoing a darker skin surgery to portray a black character

Artists, including Ted Danson, Sarah Silverman and Julianne Hough, got some warmth when they appeared in the blackface, like Eddie Murphy and Marlon and Shawn. Wayans when they donned light makeup to exhibit white characters in "SNL" and "White Chicks", respectively.

But while "whiteface" is seen as portrayed privilege, blackface is rooted in racism.

Moody-Ramirez, co-author of "From Blackface to Black T witter ": Reflections on Black Humor, Race, Politics & Gender" believes that social media has increased the conversation on blackface.

"Many of the cases we hear about now were actually exposed to social media platforms," ​​she said in an interview with CNN. "Social media platforms are very powerful and they play a role in getting the word out on what's going on in society as far as blackface."

In an Instagram post on Sunday, actor and television host Nick Cannon wrote about a recharged video of Senate hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel performing in the blackface.

"@ JimmyFallon @JimmyKimmel you know, I am always on the side of the comedian and never pans to the sensitive, but I feel that there must be some" truth and reconciliation "discussions and teachable moments among our societies," wrote Cannon in the caption. "I'm ready and willing for the discourse, so who will first go to the table first?"

CNN has reached out to reps for Fallon and Kimmel for comment.

Moody-Ramirez said that the debate on whether the blackface is ever acceptable in the comedy area can be answered quite simply.

"The answer is, if you have to think about it and ask if it's okay, then it's probably not okay," she said.


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