Japanese Comedian Slammed For Wearing ‘Blackface’ To Impersonate Eddie Murphy
By Izza Sofia, 08 Jan 2018
Image via Nata Sha / Shutterstock.com
A Japanese TV programme has sparked accusations of racism and cultural insensitivity after a comedian painted his face to impersonate actor Eddie Murphy.
During a New Year’s Eve special, the comedy troupe used ‘blackface’ on national TV as Masatoshi Hamada impersonated the character ‘Axel Foley’, whom Eddie Murphy played in the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop.
US-born columnist Baye McNeil, tweeted a “note to Japanese performing in blackface” that being black was “not a punchline nor a prop.”
Some agreed with McNeil’s reaction, while others tried to make light of the situation, arguing that Japan has no history of racial conflict unlike the United States.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily racist. I don’t. At least not intentionally,” wrote McNeil a Facebook post. “But it is definitely problematic regardless of whether the people doing it have racist motives or not. Two reasons it’s problematic are as follows: 1- it reduces blackness to a costume, which is degrading, in and of itself and 2 - Black people are not flattered by it nor do we feel respected by it.”
However, worries about ‘blackface’ are not limited to Japan. Australian model Sophie Applegarth and friend Julie Iovenitti recently defended themselves after they wore ‘blackface’ to a party to imitate sisters Venus and Serena Williams.
Note to japanese performing in #BlackFace: #Blackness is not a punchline nor a prop. Need jokes? Get better writers. Need a black character, get a black actor that speaks Japanese. There are several! But please #StopBlackfaceJapan #日本でブラックフエイス止めて not a good look! pic.twitter.com/lN0E3bWsgY— Baye McNeil (@Locohama) December 31, 2017
Interesting. How so? Make your case. But please remember to respect and recognise Japanese law, value & culture. Concept like “The world” “the Only One True Jastice” “Slavery” doesn’t matter here because Japan isn’t responsible for the black history of slavery in the US.— SweetHomeはそばかす大好き💌 (@photonka) January 2, 2018
I moved to Japan a month ago from the United States. I almost never watch TV but I have seen blackface on TV twice in Japan. Being African American and new to Japan this portrayal of people who look like me is very discouraging and worrying to me developing my new life here.— D (@DarrenAlvarez95) January 4, 2018
Who cares what the Japanese mimic! Don't do black face its not that hard to understand. It's disrespectful and offensive. Don't justify wrong actions.— ƒυƒυ //فلسطيني (@BbyLegacytan) January 4, 2018
[via New York Daily News, opening image via Nata Sha / Shutterstock.com]
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