Chinese New Year TV gala criticised for 'blackface' skit

Modesto Morganelli
Февраля 18, 2018

"China's widely watched Lunar New Year gala has come in for heavy criticism after a skit showcasing a Chinese actress in 'blackface" and wearing colored that looked African was shown.

This is a screen grab take from CCTV China on Friday Feb. 16, 2018 showing dance sequence in an Africa skit shown on state television showing an Asian woman blacked up and someone dressed in a monkey costume.

Using make-up to lampoon black people - a practice known as blackface - is seen by many as deeply offensive. So someone needs to tell that to the producers of a comedy sketch show in China.

But while it seems like China's soft-power project is still a work in progress, every country has its faux pas - as long as there are clueless people.

A Chinese actress playing her mother then strides in made up in blackface followed by an actor in a monkey costume. At one stage, the character of the African mother exclaims how much she loves China.

In recent years, China has poured in investment into many African countries.

The variety show, which aired on state media CCTV on Thursday, is one of the biggest TV shows in the world with an audience of up to 800,000 viewers, according to the BBC. By contrast, the audience for this year's NFL Super Bowl, typically the most-watched show in the USA, was 103.4 million viewers, according to NBC. The African mother says she can't be angry because "China has done so much for Africa".

Several songs praised the "New Era", a reference to President Xi Jinping's political theory about making China even stronger through socialism, cemented since late a year ago in the party's constitution.

According to the South China Morning Post, the skit was apparently meant to celebrate China's relationship with African countries. Lou replies adding "A Chinese volunteer medical team saved my life when I was young".

The notion of blackface being racist is linked to the history of minstrel shows in the U.S. and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries where white actors would paint their skin black for condescending portrayals of black people.

Chinese TV gala includes "racist blackface" sketch. Sky News also quoted another person, embarrassed by the show, "Imagine if the US State of the Union even had a white guy with yellow face, a rice farmer's hat, buck teeth, and speaking in stereotypical Chinese accent". Soon after, a light-skinned Asian man is shown emerging from the machine.

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