The Golden Naked Man and the Blackface Singer: The History of Blackface
This week I've been so busy with working at my library job and taking care of a sick aunt that history has been very far from my mind, until I saw this:
|No. I don't care if you're wearing a suit, it's still not cool|
At this time, sound had just been introduced into film. The Warner Bros. movie The Jazz Singer-one of the first "talkies"-was not allowed to compete for Best Picture because the first Academy Awards committee decided it was unfair to let movies with sound compete with silent films. It did win a special production award, and two Academy Awards for Adapted Screenplay and Special Effects.
They had no problem then with what I consider personally the most bizarre thing I've seen since last week's movie viewing:
|Yes I did watch it - sorry good taste, I know you'll never forgive me.|
"It may seem strange and ironic that abolitionists helped popularize blackface performance and black stereotypes, but minstrelsy tapped into a much wider audience than anti-slavery pamphlets, books, or speeches. Starting in 1832, Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice took his Jim Crow act from New York to London, kicking off a craze for minstrel song and dance. Abolitionists on both sides of the Atlantic seized upon this new format, including burnt-cork blackface, to promote the end of slavery. In one of Rice’s songs, the master of a slave named “Gombo Chaff” went to Hell after he died, where he was forced to perform the menial tasks he assigned to his slaves."
One other crazy thing happened before the age of minstrel shows died out: African-Americans performing all the minstrel songs. Unlike the majority of white blackface performers in the 1800s who were born in Northern cities prior to the Civil War, most African American blackface minstrel performers were born after the Civil War and in Southern cities. The differences between white and African American minstrel performers do not stop there. Although the age of urban industrialization brought great opportunity for whites in America, according to Karen Sotiropoulos, “for black Americans, the 1890s ushered in a decade of shrinking possibilities, and artists and activists alike desperately sought any avenue for advancement.
|Yup - even Judy Garland int he 1930s did it because this is really how African Americans look.|
If you think that blackface completely died out with the end of segregation in the US, you'd be wrong. Thanks to those "I think minstrel shows are cool" British people, The Black and White Minstrel show (1958-1978) was a singing and dancing show. It was extremely popular, until people noticed that it was really racist and finally made the BBC cancel it.
|Because the sequence was the most offensive thing here.|
|A dude playing another dude...|