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Julianne Hough Learns Blackface Still Isn’t Cool

Submitted by on October 27, 2013 – 8:23 amOne Comment

Some people just can’t seem to get the message: being black isn’t a costume! Julianne Hough is the latest public figure to get called out for darkening her skin. The Rock of Ages and Safe Haven star received backlash for this unintentionally offensive gesture, after cameras caught her with an artificially darker complexion after she dressed up as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren from the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black.

Hough took to Twitter to explain her actions and apologize:

I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created. It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.

Hough is not the first person even in the last few years to receive public scorn for donning blackface. Earlier this year, a New York state assemblyman defended his use of blackface and an afro wig at a costume party. Last Halloween, NHL goalie Tyler Bozak incited controversy for tweeting a photo of himself as Michael Jackson, including with darker skin. Also in 2012, a second grader in Colorado was asked to clean off his makeup after using blackface to play Martin Luther King, Jr. for a school project.

In the US especially, using makeup or pigment to darken skin carries a harsh stigma due to the legacy of minstrelsy, where Caucasian performers would create grotesque black appearances and perform exaggerated musical numbers. The performance style thrived in the 19th and well into the 20th century.


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