After the controversy, Ray says he stops at Blackface

Italy says goodbye to Blackface. Or at least its national television news and entertainment channel. Al Rai announced this from now on White actors and singers will no longer appear on stage with their faces painted black to represent the black characters. In response to a letter received in January and signed by various anti-racism associations (Lunaria, #Italianisenzacittadinanza, Cospe, Arci and Il Razzismo is a bad story), Viale Mazzini clarified: “As you have written to us, let’s say right away which we undertake – as much “What we can – to prevent it from recurring on the screens. On the contrary, we will talk about your requests in senior management and in the management that play a crucial role in coordinating so that your observations of BlackFace’s practice become a widespread awareness.”

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The answer, jointly laid down by Ray’s senior management and Commander Carlo Conte, comes next The controversy over the proposed tradition was sparked during prime-time broadcasts on Rai 1 Sic and appearing. In musical talent, as artists reproduce the performances of other singers that imitate not only their voice, bell and pose, but also costumes, makeup, and imitation Sergio Muniz, Who in the 2020 season played the role of rapper Ghali, with a showy dark makeup and rough on his face. The singer, born in Milan to Tunisian parents, commented last November on the show: “Autotone and a nice look are enough. You don’t have to do Black Face to imitate me or imitate other artists.” He added, “You can say I’m exaggerating, and I should be laughing and that you don’t want to offend anyone, as I understand it. But to insult someone you just have to be ignorant, you don’t have to be mean or driven by hate. “.

But what is a face? It is a widespread practice in the entertainment world of dyeing a character’s white face black, exaggerating his facial features, and emphasizing alleged ways of mocking people of color. Dark leather with shoe polish, a caricatured mouth, and a dazzling smile: these were the hallmarks of Theatrical make-up has spread since the 1930s in the United States. Wearing rags and a straw hat on their heads, white actors took part in black zombies, lazy and violent, alcoholics and women. A distorted representation that hints at discriminatory and racist attitudes and is perpetuated to the needs of the theater also by actors such as Fred Astaire, Dan Aykroyd, Billy Crystal, Judy Garland, Sophia Loren, Frank Sinatra and even the Marx brothers. A practice that left a deep imprint in the history and sensitivity of blacks, in which the understanding of cuteness did not begin until the end of the 1960s with Martin Luther King.

Black-faced Rai

It is a distorted representation that hints at discriminatory and racist attitudes.

Margaret ShuteGetty Images

Today, there are some fallout for Blackface in the United States, where you happen to see it thriving at special occasions like stag parties, fraternity parties, and college musicals. As for TV broadcasting, this trick has been completely banned, as well as in Great Britain and other parts of the world. A very different cultural history and demographics from the rest of Europe, with a widespread colonial vocation, allowed Italy to perpetuate the practice to the present day with sometimes horrific results, although not necessarily underestimated. Far like the Black face Not part of our culture and theatrical traditions, it is important for Italy to distance itself also from the phenomenon that ended up in an increasingly globalized world that touches us as well: in the face of certain practices we can no longer turn our heads from the other side and pretend indifferent.

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Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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