My favorite, Mr. Reginald Hudlin asked me to contribute to his blog. Wooo, that’s major. At least for a young, blossoming, soon-to-be television & film executive like me. Soooo, should I make my first contribution something funny? Eh, how ‘bout we just keep it real! Let’s talk about Blackface. Yep that’s right; Blackface. I know its damn near 2009 and half of ya’ll probably don’t even know what Blackface is…well I take that back. If you are enlightened enough to be on hudlinentertainment.com, then you should be conscious of American Theatre’s 19th Century performance tradition of Blackface.
Currently I am traveling overseas in New Zealand; Queenstown, New Zealand to be exact. The land of 4 million people and 90 million sheep. Sounds great right?!! Keep reading. So Halloween night I go out with some friends…white friends. Oh, did I mention I am THE ONLY black person in this town? No seriously, I haven’t even seen a black sheep! So, Halloween night we all decide to go to a bar. We’re chillin, drinking, and in walks Sambo. I freeze. So many things are running through my head at this point. I have always been one of those black people that look at racial situations from the past (i.e. slavery, sit-ins, etc.) and say “Oh Hell No! If that were me, I’d snatch that whip from that slave master and beat him!” Or “Oh Hell No! If that were me, I’d go right up to the white’s only lunch counter and sit my black ass down and order a wing on wheat!” But here I am, in probably [hopefully] the most serious racial situation of my life and I freeze. I don’t say a word. I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m embarrassed. I’m disgusted. This 6 foot tall white man walks into a bar with shoe polish all over his face, white paint under his eyes, and red paint exaggerating his mouth, looks me in my eye, and I say nothing. I look around to the 10 or so white co-workers that I’m with and they are laughing. One even has the audacity to say to me “Hey Tiffany, you see that?” Of course “I see that”. It’s slapping me in my face right now! How is one supposed to handle a situation like this? I wanted to go up to Blackface and ask him ‘why?’ or ‘who are you supposed to be?’ But I said nothing. Because if he would have answered me the wrong way, with any tone of disrespect, God only knows how I would have reacted. So I left the bar.
I left the bar to find 3 other men, at three separate locations all in Blackface. Wow! Is this a nightmare? Are they serious? I couldn’t believe it. But I got payback. I got payback on November 4, 2008 when the United States of America elected Barack Obama the Leader of the Free World.