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U.S. soprano, offended by blackface, pulls out of Italy opera

23 Comments
By FRANCES D'EMILIO

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Referring to Arena's decision to use blackface makeup in “Aida,'' the singer wrote: “Let me be perfectly clear: the use of blackface under any circumstances, artistic or otherwise, is a deeply misguided practice based on archaic theatrical traditions which have no place in modern society. It is offensive, humiliating and outright racist."

Historical and cultural context are important. Blackface was the practice of darkening minstrel performers' faces as a caricature to ridicule black people. Within that context, if you're not ridiculing black people, then it's not even blackface. It's just changing your skin color to perform as someone with a different skin color.

Men dress as women, and vice-versa to portray each other. Performers wear various color wigs with straight and curly versions to portray other people. And short people wear high heels to portray taller people. It's all part of performing. Black people don't get a pass from this because they were ridiculed using the same tools in the past.

Protests need to focus on the problem. A white kid dressing up as Michael Jackson for a party is not demeaning or ridiculing black people. Protesting adoration is pointless, and it makes such campaigners look ridiculous.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Get a black singer,if the character is if color

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

*I understand and agree with not using blackface in this day and age, but it is ok to turn a white man black and make him gay in the TV show Tom Swift?
0 ( +1 / -1 )

Wouldn’t it be easier and more pragmatic if they then use something similar, let’s say for example whitefacing, so that they can perform in any role on the stages?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

>

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yrral

Today 09:39 am JST

Get a black singer,if the character is if color

Right like there are hundreds of top level Black male opera singers just lying around waiting for a call

But hey why not, people spend decades training, a few more decades as the lead's understudy and because the role is supposedly a black, Asia, Arabic, etc .. just forget it all and put in the appropriate colour!

Do we care if they can act or sing?

No no no, as long as the are the right ethnicity or look it naturally then no problem.

Makes me think of my son, in Canada was selected to play the Mikado but the Asian parents objected because my son "isn't really Asian " right so a "Chinese" (born in Canada as were his parents never lived in Asia let alone China) replaced him then they had the never to ask my son to teach the role to this boy. He refused instead decided Japan was a better place and came home here.

My son was the only one actually a Japanese citizen, the only one who's primary language wasn't English or French. The only one formally trained in traditional Japanese stage performance and comic storytelling!

But He wasn't Asian enough.

This woman's reaction it the same, everything and everyone is constantly offended, history, facts, reality all not important, feelings are the new reality, "feelings are the new facts.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Here is the future of entertainment.

We will have ethnic/alternative lifestyle movies written staring and directed by each particular ethnic/ alternative lifestyle group ( bad guy roles reserved for white heterosexual male).

All non ethnic/alternative lifestyle movies will be comic book and movies with colourless androgynous characters.

This is what we will be getting until they go bankrupt.

Don't think this is not getting people tired?

Look up Buzz Lightyear box office flop vs Macho adrenaline Top gun Maverick. But these special interest groups know better what the people should see and soon they will try and tell us.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It's so American to get offended that the world isn't following the sensibilities that came about through your own country's racist history, and not theirs. I agree with the first poster:

Men dress as women, and vice-versa to portray each other. Performers wear various color wigs with straight and curly versions to portray other people. And short people wear high heels to portray taller people. It's all part of performing. Black people don't get a pass from this because they were ridiculed using the same tools in the past.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Funny how the same people don’t object when a coloured performer plays a role originally white? Talk about purblind racists!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

English colored folks went out decades ago

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It is very difficult for black people to reach the pinnacle of both opera and ballet. Some do achieve it.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

When in Rome, do like the Romans do.

Goodbye and never come back.

No welcome to people who think they are superior to others, that applies to all.

Respect culture and history without trying to brainwash that all the time.

Don´t tell me whitefacing is not existing by the way. It is just color, not political nor racist plays.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Johnathan, European will not be saying that ,when their freezing in the dark, European decline is their own doing

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Yrral

Today 07:33 pm JST

English colored folks went out decades

And I don't understand what you are trying to say?

"English colored folks"????

It is Italy, most will be Italian singers or European most likely not British or American.

Aida was written by an Italian first preformed in 1871.

The problem is again, an American projecting it's ideas and problems on other places.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The reason you do understand it,it was demeaning when sign in the segregated said Colored

People Only,when have the power to use it for good do it

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yrral

Today 10:54 pm JST

The reason you do understand it,it was demeaning when sign in the segregated said Colored

> People Only,when have the power to use it for good do it

You do understand the USA isn't the world!?

Why do chip on the shoulder people from the USA get to tell how everyone else lives or acts.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Antique,what country are you from,and what country are you living in,lots of people do not say this when their under threat, I am not an American nationalist,never been,but their are some things that is universal accepted beyond boundaries as wrong

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yrral

Today 11:20 pm JST

Antique,what country are you from,and what country are you living in,lots of people do not say this when their under threat, I am not an American nationalist,never been,but their are some things that is universal accepted beyond boundaries as wrong

Really?

No it is 99% the chip on the shoulder so called minorities in the USA and Canada that constantly have a problem.

Dreadlocks, are now a black only thing if you don't want to get harassed.

Don't dress or use xyz culture clothing or design if you aren't xyz because you will get accused of culture appropriation.

Don't even sing the lyrics to certain songs unless you are the correct colour.

Do you want more.

Well I live in Japan, been here over 30 years, Japanese wife 2 Japanese national children ( mixed ethnicity).

I work as a traditional Japanese craftsman, I trained many years under my former Japanese master.

In Japan no one says anything, I am a "Master" people call me that ( in Japanese) no one has ever said a thing about the white guy dressed in Japanese traditional work clothes doing a traditional craft.

But recently via online, I have been getting a lot of hate from woke white people and North Americans that call themselves Asian despite never setting foot in Asia.

Their problem with me!? I am White doing a Japanese craft dressed as those that do this craft, dressed like my Master told me to.

I am now regularly accused of "cultural appropriations" never from real Japanese only from outsiders most from Canada or the USA, 99% of whome aren't even remotely connected to Japan not even through their heritage.

So it is time to tell these cry babies if they don't like it, don't leave the USA or Canada and don't go online to any place outside those 2 places and leave the rest of us alone, that way their poor sensitive selves in North America won't get their feelings hurt.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

That was that woman person decision,I think people hating you for wood working got some serious issues,you being a master craftsmen, in Japan

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That was that woman person decision,I think people hating you for wood working got some serious issues,you being a master craftsmen, in Japan

Actually no, if it was just that then she pulls out shuts her mouth pays the losses the production may have.

But she didn't, she went public trying to cause trouble more than she already did by quitting.

I have a problem I handle it, I don't take to social media crying to the world.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

No it is 99% the chip on the shoulder so called minorities in the USA and Canada that constantly have a problem.

You think it may be because they've also been on the end of the discrimination stick 99% of the time as well?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No it is 99% the chip on the shoulder so called minorities in the USA and Canada that constantly have a problem.

I mean, 99% of the chip on the shoulder about racism in Japan is foreigners. I've heard you complain about it many times on the board. Do you think the Japanese should take the same attitude towards us?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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