Monday, February 27, 2012

Was Billy Crystal's Blackface Sammy Davis Racist?

Okay, we knew this was coming big time, even though Crystal has been doing Sammy from way back in the SNL hay-days. I say Crystal is cool with his Oscar Awards Sammy. Yeah, he had to put on black-face makeup, but this ain't the blackface that should have folks up in arms. He is an impersonator, and one of the best there ever was. He is doing his thing, and isn't it great that Sammy still lives, long after he's gone. Crystal is not mocking black folks, culture, or anything else, he is really paying homage, as one great entertainer to another (as I see it). Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle impersonating Jewish/white guys is cool too, even though the danger zone is clearly visible.

Having said this, all the white folks who think Crystal gives them license to paint themselves up as Gangstas'. Hell no. That dog don't hunt! Impersonating takes talent and a bit, mockery is just someone acting stupid and racist - and the world hopefully is getting better at knowing the difference.

James C. Collier


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Gatas Negras said...

I'm not giving Billy Crystal a pass, but at least he was genuinely trying to look like SD Jr. This is still politically incorrect but a little different from hideous, outrageous, dehumanizing images of vaudeville shows of the Al Jolson era. Again, not giving him a pass, but blackface is global! These are the type of images that totally offend me:

NSangoma said...

Low aspirational Negroes not doing the very best they can in school is racist.

Negroes buying $200 tennis shoes instead of $200 chemistry books is racist.

Negroe males not marrying the mother of their child is racist.

Negroe males not financially supporting their children is racist.

MotherFcuk Billy Crystal, what has he got to do with this Negroe mess; the mess is self-inflicted.

Basso e Grasso said...

Did Wolfman Jack do audio blackface?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the criteria being used to distinguish "ok" from "not ok" impersonations is the following:

"It's ok when we like it but it's not ok when we don't!"

Or, maybe more accurately: "It's ok when we interpret the motives of the person to be one thing, but not ok when we interpret the motives of the person to be something else." What if your interpretation of the motive is mistaken? What if your own hang ups are getting in the way?

I'm just not sure that's going to fly...

James C. Collier said...

Anon 12:36, the distinction I make is between minstrel-type mocking of races and professional impersonations of individuals (celebrities or otherwise).

Anonymous said...

Blackface is a hate symbol, just as a swastika is a hate symbol.