Actress Julianne Hough made a mistake she’ll hopefully regret for as long as possible when she decided to dress up as her favorite ‘Orange Is The New Black’ character and used Blackface makeup to look more like Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren who is played by the talented Uzo Aduba. People of all races all over the world had something to say about this disaster. Hough did offer a sincere apology but I found the public’s reaction more interesting. Her blunder opened up room for an important conversation. It is unsettling that there are people who are still making this ‘mistake’ in 2013.
“The sad thing is that not one of her friends told her NOT to do this,” said a tweet.
It is evident from the comments’ sections of sites that ran the story that a lot of people simply do not understand the derogatory connotations associated with blackface. You only have to read up on the history of blackface to understand why there is no reason whatsoever to do it.
The use of blackface makeup started in the early 1800s, when white performers would rub burnt cork on their face during minstrel shows to portray African-Americans in a negative way. These overtly racist minstrel shows were the most popular form of entertainment and they disseminated the ugliest stereotypes of African-American slaves. In the 19th century black entertainers would not be accepted on stage unless they performed in blackface makeup.
In recent years however, people use it as Halloween costumes, jokes, and pranks. Though the intention may not be malicious and sinister, it is the history behind this action that deems it socially unacceptable. The use of blackface is seen as a racial slur and shows a lack of empathy towards the race that it was originally meant to degrade.
No matter how ‘innocent’ your intentions are, it’s best to avoid blackface. One person said, “Stay away [from blackface]. It’s not worth the agitation and aggravation you are going to cause”
Photo credit: The Wrap
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