Blackface - Minstrelsy


Manage episode 292340282 series 1301224
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BLACKFACE & MINSTRELSY - At its most basic level, 'blackface' is the application of any prosthetic to imitate the complexion of another race. In theory, it's a performance available to all, yet 'whiteface' is relatively unknown. Laurie Taylor talks to Ayanna Thompson, Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University, about the painful history of ‘blackface’, an ancient European theatrical device that the Europeans brought with them to America. What connects it to Blackface minstrelsy, a specific comedic performance tradition rooted in slavery, and why does this racist practice endure today? Also, Christine Grandy, Associate Professor in History at the University of Lincoln, discusses the origins of the British Black and White Minstrel Show, a prime time, BBC variety programme which lasted for 20 years, from 1958-1978. She uncovers a little known history in which broadcasters, the press, and audience members collectively argued that the show had nothing to do with race whilst the complaints and anger of Black people were dismissed. Thinking Allowed is produced in partnership with the Open University. Producer: Jayne Egerton

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