AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Germany has its own “Sinterklaas Scandal”

The Oktoberfest in Munich may be over, but a curious debate sparked by the annual Bavarian bierfest is lingering like a bad hangover. Is it racist to put up targets portraying black people for fairgoers to shoot at? Yes, in Germany this is treated as a question to be answered with yes or no. This

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Make Ignorance History

I wouldn’t be surprised if the two white South African students—Mark Burman and Ross Bartlett—who donned blackface and dressed up as “Venus and Sarena Williams” at a party at the University of Stellenbosch were sitting around a...

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

What the Dutch court ruling against blackface figure Zwarte Piet means

The Amsterdam court ruling on Dutch blackface hero Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) yesterday quickly went viral. But what does the ruling really mean. In a nutshell: an Amsterdam judge did not forbid the figure of Black Pete, but ruled that Zwarte...

Friday, February 7th, 2014

What’s new? Blackface as carnival costume in the Netherlands

By now it should not come as a surprise that in the Netherlands where dressing in blackface is part of the national tradition (read here and here about our December “traditions”) and comes with no consequences, carnival costumes...

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The Year the Blackface Tradition in the Netherlands Hit the Big Time

In 2013, the world was introduced to the Dutch December tradition of Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”)—the blackfaced sidekick to Sinterklaas. Though a letter complaining of the racism inherent in the practice was sent to the Office of...

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

10 excuses most Dutch people make for racism

Today is the day Sinterklaas and his little black slaves give candy to children, although nature got in the way somewhat. As you’re aware, “Zwarte Piet” (translated: Black Pete) is how the helpers of Saint Nicholas are...

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Blackface: Fresh as the sea and funny, or tired, racist bull?

Imagine our feigned surprise at AIAC when blackface reared its head again, this time in a South African advertisement for the Cape Town Fish Market. The ad (below), posted on Youtube earlier this week, uses air quotes...

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

What’s new in South America? Blackface is okay in Peru

Peruvian media have revived the debate regarding Negro Mama, a popular character of the prime time TV show El Especial del Humor. The show, aired on one of the country’s main TV channels, Frecuencia Latina, features actor Jose...

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Is Chester Missing blackface?

He performs to packed-out theatres and is a regular correspondent on a satirical television news show, Late Nite News with Loyiso Gola (LNN) on South African private TV channel, Etv. He’s at times raucously funny and almost...

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Brownface

Ashton Kutcher, known for his unusual savvy when it comes to investing in tech companies, and for actually being a presence in those spaces (attending conferences and personally meeting startup founders), must know that many of those...

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Pepe Reina and the shagging African cannibals

Pepe Reina, Liverpool and Spain’s national team goalkeeper, is a spokesperson for the Spanish multinational insurance company Groupama Seguros. In a new TV ad, Reina lands up in a jungle where a blackfaced chief claims Reina as...

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Beyonce in Blackface

A French magazine’s brilliant idea “to honor Fela Kuti” The story.

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Black Babies Redux

What’s old is new again. This time from French fashion magazine, Numéro, which manages to merge two of our favorite (fashion) trends into one spread: black babies and blackface! I would be offended except this is completely...

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Rihanna: Back in Black…face?

Apparently not content with her (failed) attempt at igniting controversy last year with her questionable spread in Italian Vogue, Rihanna has decided to try her hand yet again at the latest epidemic sweeping the globe. This time...

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Is Die Antwoord a form of Blackface?

First world hipster bloggers and music websites (with foreign correspondents' not far behind) are besides themselves about South African performers, Die Antwoord. Linking to them. Talking about their style. Good for them and Die Antwoord. But...

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

John Edwin Mason’s photographs of Cape Town’s New Year’s Carnival

I really like this series of photographs by University of Virginia African history and history of photography professor (and photographer), John Edwin Mason, on the Cape Town New Year’s Carnival, a series of marches, competitions and celebrations...

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

THE BLACKFACE USER GUIDE

It must be Blackface season. All manner of white people, whether people dressing up for Halloween, Australian TV variety shows, fashion magazines and even French TV programs think it is okay to put on Blackface....

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

COONERY

Friday, October 9th, 2009

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT AUSTRALIA

You must have seen this video by now. This is a reunion show for a long running Australian variety show of the 1980s. Sort of retro “America’s Got Talent” mixed with late night talk shows.  One of...