Black Entertainment : Show Will Explore Blackface

Discussion in 'Black Entertainment' started by Destee, Jul 23, 2006.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Show Will Explore Blackface

    By Judith Egerton

    Minstrel shows of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with whites (and later, blacks) in blackface, ridiculed African Americans by depicting them in derogatory ways. That style of entertainment died in the early 1900s, soon after the advent of vaudeville, to become an embarrassing relic from a time when our nation enslaved human beings.

    This week in Louisville, participants in a national theater conference will see something few people have ever seen on stage -- a live minstrel show with performers in blackface.

    "Mandy Spoils de Weddin' " will be performed by four University of Louisville actors, two white and two black, all in blackface. The show is part of a program about the roots of minstrel shows and Thomas Dartmouth "T.D." Rice, a white New York native considered the father of American minstrelsy. He first performed in blackface in Louisville in the late 1820s.

    "No one who has ever been at the BTN conference has ever seen whites in blackface," she said. "As academics, we really need to talk about it," despite the fact that the program is likely to make both the performers and the audience uncomfortable.

    Rice, a white man who lived from 1808 to 1860, reportedly saw a crippled slave named Jim Crow dancing and singing in Louisville. From that experience, he created a one-man show that he performed in blackface. His exaggerated imitation of the disabled man included a song and dance number called "Jump Jim Crow." Later, "Jim Crow" was used as a label for segregationist laws in the South.

    Pacey Walker, 24, who is black, graduated in May with a master's degree in acting and a graduate certificate in African American Theatre. She plays Mandy in the minstrel show.

    It's "very weird" to perform a show that contributed to stereotypes in the past, she said. But "to find solutions to problems related to race and stereotypes, we have to be able to talk about these things," she said.

    The characters are dumb and one-dimensional and their movements are ridiculously exaggerated for comic effect. While it will be emotionally difficult to play such false portrayals of black people, the actors said they are committed to the show. "We will not be doing this with fear, but full-heartedly," Hill said. "We will be as accurate as we can make it as a minstrel show."

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    :heart:

    Destee
     
  2. Sefirot

    Sefirot Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Dave Chapelle stated that he did a show with a guy in black face, and the response from the whites in the crowd made him uncomfortable.
    Blessedly, that was the turn in his attitude toward the show. He decided to strike that one out and split altogether.
    They aired the sketch last niight on the lost episodes. It was disgraceful. Chuck Murphy and Ashy Larry are officially sell outs to me.
     
  3. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    I just can't imagine my child going all the way through college, a master's degree in acting and a graduate certificate in African American Theatre ... to invite me to a program where they will be in blackface, that's described as dumb and one dimensional. I really can't imagine that.

    I'd be one mad Momma! :mad:

    I could imagine them being directed to do something like this, perhaps in the course of the studies, a small skit to better understand the emotions that must be present ... knowing its history and such ... but it being the great debut after all the years of training ... please.

    Our Ancestors that took part in these blackface episodes, probably couldn't even read and write ... but it takes this generation to receive a master's degree to do this????

    I would be very disappointed in my daughter and the leaders of this group. I would be wondering why they can't do something more challenging than this demeaning foolishness. I'd wonder if this is what the master's degree is all about ... putting my baby in blackface?!

    Who needs a master's degree for this?

    Perhaps i don't know enough. I know if it were my child involved in this, i'd know a lot more than the article provides, and maybe there's some sound reasoning behind mocking our people this way.

    This makes me think of what so many African scholars say about having an African centered education vs the one the majority of our children are receiving.

    My daughter was in a play in college, her senior year, it was presented by the Black Student Union, and she was the star ... :spinstar: ... and she is not an acting major. The play was about the challenges of generations before them, having the opportunity to attend college. She enjoyed it so much, saying that she had picked the wrong major.

    I traveled miles to see her.

    I don't know ... i guess i might have traveled miles to see her no matter what.

    But gosh.

    This is deep ... aint it?

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  4. anAfrican

    anAfrican Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yup; that's what that "education" is all about!! So, yeah; "who needs it?" Only anyone that is "comfortable", and "truly" "convenienced" by the state of Liberty for Africans planetwide!
     
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