Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

Adele, Jessica Krug, and “Tanya”: Blackface, white power and rewatching Girlfriends on Netflix

Let’s talk about Blackface as Minstrelsy, Blackfishing, and cultural appropriation

Irenne Dunne in Show Boat (1936) — https://www.themakeupgallery.info/racial/minstrel/showboatid.htm
Sourced from Instagram, Nuestra Matria Borken, @nuestra_patriapr
Detail from cover of The Celebrated Negro Melodies, as Sung by the Virginia Minstrels, arranged by Th. Comer, Boston, 1843. Scanned from Dan Emmett and the Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy by Hans Nathan. — Wikimedia Commons
“The same blackface minstrelsy performance on page 99 of “The Greatonian” 1959 yearbook. PHOTO SOURTESY OF SJU ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS” from “St. Joe’s history with blackface minstrelsy” by Dominique Joe, https://www.sjuhawknews.com/st-joes-blackface-minstrelsy/

On Rachel Dolezal and Jessica Krug:

In a world where they may not stand out as white women, they definitely do as Black or Brown. They use their conceptual knowledge of antiblackness within Black communities to center their whiteness as “lightness”. Their “insider” mastery of colorism and how white supremacy translates within a Black context gives them leverage and privilege. (As parasites) …they feed on the insecurities of Black and Brown host communities to not only center themselves, but to gain dominance, power, and expertise. From: “Jessica Krug’s Medium Post is Not an Apology”, Lisa Betty

Photo of Claudia Jones with resources from @almostdrlisabetty on Instagram
@Mukomawangugi — Twitter
“Image of blackface minstrelsy performances by the St. Joe’s junior class of 1960 on page 99 of “The Greatonian” 1959 yearbook. PHOTO COURTESY OF SJU ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS”
Shirley Temple in Blackface, from “The Littlest Rebel” (1935). — from “Remembering Shirley Temple requires us to remember her legacy of Blackface cinema”, http://reappropriate.co/2014/02/remembering-shirley-temple-requires-us-to-remember-her-perpetuation-of-blackface-cinema/
Photo of billboard exhibit in Detroit, MI by Alisha B. Wormsley of Pittsburgh — https://www.deadlinedetroit.com/articles/22831/new_downtown_detroit_billboard_reminds_black_people_they_belong

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Lisa Betty

Lisa Betty is a PhD Candidate in History and Course Instructor at Fordham University.