Memo to Billy Crystal

Blackface is not okay. Ever.

In case you missed it, the actor and comedian decided to don blackface as he did a Sammy Davis Jr. impression in his opening sequence for the Oscars last night. Despite the fact that this impression was apparently a popular bit when Crystal was on Saturday Night Live back in the day, frankly I don’t think it matters. It’s still a historically racist act that’s been practiced in theater and film as a way to stereotype black people — and regardless of comedic intentions, that history and hurt it’s caused the black community trumps. The Academy should have known better than to allow it.

As the media shitstorm develops around this, I just hope it becomes more of a learning moment for the Hollywood industry and  Academy rather than an opportunity for even more racist bullshit to come out of the woodwork, which so often does when something like this happens.

Pic via Colorlines

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