Thursday, February 21, 2019

Philadelphia: Mummer Accused of Playing Jay-Z in Blackface Is, in Fact, Black

On Tuesday, as the Mummers Parade festivities were moving from your television screen to drunken celebrations down on Two Street, a scandal began unfolding involving a local Mummers troupe and its purported use of blackface. Except — says the performer being accused — there was no blackface.

The skit in question came to us courtesy of Finnegan New Years Brigade Comic Club, which previously ran afoul of public opinion with a 2016 routine making fun of Caitlyn Jenner.

This time around, Finnegan took aim at City Hall and last year’s kerfuffle over Made in America. A man wearing a big gold chain and a dark jacket with “JAY-Z” written on the back led a Pinocchio-nosed “Mayor Kenney” around on all fours by a dog leash. At one point, Kenney struck a puppy-begging pose, and Jay-Z pats him on the head. The commentators on TV chuckled and one made a joke about things “getting political.”

But no one was joking about it on social media. Video of the routine, seen above, began circulating on Instagram and Facebook, and judgment was swift and harsh. Here are some excerpts from just one post, which was viewed more than 18,000 times before it became unavailable on Facebook:

“Well look up the Origin of the Mummers Parade Big Fella …” wrote one commenter. “Racist As Fuck. Can’t Stand it myself.”

“I hope Jay Z sees this and pulls Made in America,” wrote another.

On Wednesday morning, we reached out to Michael Inemer, a representative of the Goodtimers Comic Club, the umbrella group under which Finnegan is organized. He seemed perplexed when we asked him about all this talk of blackface, and he said it was the first he heard of it.

“That was a black American!” Inemer insisted. “We’re not allowed to use blackface!”

A few minutes later, my phone rang. The man on the other end of the call explained that he was the one who played the part of Jay-Z and that he is, in fact, black.

“If it looks like I’m in blackface in the video, then people need to get new cameras,” he told us, explaining that he had “Jay-Z” written in white paint on his face. “This is how people’s reputations are ruined. You have to be careful with this stuff.”



Anonymous said...

The Politically Correct are frequently completely wrong !

Anonymous said...

The Mummers have always used biting sarcasm to attack all sides of the political spectrum. More than likely the real issue is that they mocked the mayor. Can remember when the mocked Rizzo.