My Black Experience: Realizing That Blackface Is “Cool”… Again

There’s something about being made fun of for having a certain feature or "acting" a certain way and then seeing those same people who made fun of you, take what you had and do a complete 180 with the opinions that no one asked for in the first place. It feels as if a part of you was stolen off your person and you know you can’t get it back no matter how hard you try.

This is the feeling at hand all while being the act is being flaunted in your faced and monetized. But if that knife through the heart wasn’t enough, the final twist of the blade is the act of treating the victim like they don’t deserve to be recognized as a whole person, with real emotions, when they choose to speak out on the audacity at hand.

That’s how it feels to look at countless incidents of blackface in these recent weeks of 2019 as I wonder to myself, “Why?” Why is blackface still a thing?  Here in the Western Hemisphere, I have to deal with looking at high fashion brands that I always appreciated actually releasing products that make a mockery out of my physical features. Then, at that, I get to see them not being able to grasp the absolute mind-blowing, world-shaking, Stephen Hawking-esque concept of asking themselves, “Hey. Are we absolutely positively fucking idiotic?” And the sad reality of it is, no. No, they’re not dumb, they just don’t care.

Prada, Moncler, Gucci, and Katy Perry undoubtedly made no type of effort to even try to hide the blatant racism that oozed out of their products. Not the Pradamalia/minstrel show keychains, not the Malfi/sambo jacket, not the balaclava/blackface turtle neck, and certainly not those doubly racist/prejudice blackface/slant eyed Katy Perry shoes. But this is what it’s come to. Blackface is being marketed as “cool”… again. The fact that I had to write the word “again” should let you know just how little progress we’ve really made as a society.

Black people used to be the butt of every horrible derogatory joke as they were caricatured to be less than a human being thanks to what was known as minstrel shows. In these shows, the white actors would draw black face paint with excessive red paint around their lips to make them appear frighteningly big. Anything that belonged to us they would strip it from us and make fun it for their own entertainment. 

As much as I hate to admit it but before these items were pulled, they were selling. And not only were they selling, but there was an attempt being made to make this ok. That this is what’s eventually going to be. That being able to openly mock black people and make money off of their anger and their misery was silently excepted by those who are our true audience.

As I said before, to have a piece of me snatched from my person and flat out waved in my face like its a chew toy or something is degrading to the highest degree. We show endless love to you as we have always buy your products and make them cool and make you more successful, and to show us just how thankful you are for all that we’ve done for you, you hand us a present with a giant bow on it. And as we open that box, all it turns out to be a white piece of paper with big black letters that spell out the word, “Nigger.”

Realizing that blackface is so apparent in America yet again, has made me reevaluate who I support and what actions I can take against this act. Writing is my first step providing, expression, education, and a call to action. With it being Black History Month, it is essential to note how little history has progressed as our ancestors struggles daunt us. Knowing and understanding the way the world works around you is the first step to dismantling the acceptance of acts like blackface, by working with facts over favor. High-end brands will only learn what we teach them as consumers. Be a change this month, and every month after to truly stand for our people.