When Talent Shows Go Horribly Wrong: An Example Of Racism Double-standards
Crackit Productions, commissioned by Channel 5, have compiled an anthology of clips, interspersed by “famous” people making comments, of when events on talent competition programs have taken a turn for the worse. I was horrified by opinions that were expressed around 2 hours into When Talent Shows Go Horribly Wrong.
An excerpt is included from the Filipino version of Your Face Sounds Familiar, which is a showcase for singing impersonators. It is much like Stars In Their Eyes but utilises advanced prosthetic makeup to turn celebrities into well-known vocalists. The extract features singer Kean Cipriano who was challenged to perform Ebony And Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.
Cipriano, an Asian man, performed twice. He portrayed McCartney and Wonder separately, then the footage was combined to form a duet.
He entered the stage as McCartney first, with lightened skin and prosthetics to make his eyes appear rounder, to whoops and cheers of approval. People obviously had no issue with the contestant being made to look white.
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“The singing is actually quite good. He’s really good as Paul McCartney,” said Carrie Grant, to which David Grant replied “Yeah, he is.” These 2 talent show judges were clearly impressed by the first facet of his performance.
DJ and broadcaster Alex Mansuroglu commented “Makeup, prosthetics, realistic!”
Stevi Ritchie, a singer, remarked “I just thought ‘Wow! This guy is truly, truly talented!’”
Cipriano is then shown sat at a keyboard, with black skin, black glasses and curly black hair. He bobs his head sideways as he sings, in imitation of Stevie Wonder’s mannerisms.
Mansuroglu exclaimed “Oh my god! What am I seeing?”
“It’s wrong! It’s all shades of wrong!” opined singer and actress Brenda Edwards.
DJ and presenter Yinka Bokinni orated “There’s no need for it.”
Bobby Crush, an entertainer, informed us that he “ended up watching it through fingers” as he demonstrated with his hands in front of his eyes. “Oh, it was horrible!” He then made a noise of disgust.
Carrie Grant uttered “You… you can’t black up like that.”#
At a loss for intelligent and relevant comments, Bokinni complained that the entrant’s “weird afro thing that was made out of – I don’t know – Brillo pads” “looks like some sort of sponge.”
David Grant stated “It’s the prosthetics of the 21st century meets the entertainment ethics of the 1930s.”
Singer Danyl Johnson summed up the performance and added “My mind is blown.” To his credit, Johnson is the only participant of the segment who seemed equally offended by Cipriano’s portrayal of a white man.
“Um, brilliantly clever prosthetics. But that kind of isn’t really the point, is it?” David Grant added.
This is a perfect example of the appalling double-standard regarding racism which is prevalent throughout the establishment and media. As I watched, I half expected somebody to accuse the performer of discriminating against the blind too.
I believe there is no sin in “blacking up” as long as it is not done in an insulting or derogatory manner towards an ethnicity. Of course Cipriano was going to emerge with darkened skin – how else would he convincingly impersonate Stevie Wonder?
An old adage goes “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Wonder shouldn’t (and may not for all I know) be offended, he should feel gratified that a talented performer holds him in such high esteem that he wishes to put in a lot of time and effort to adequately pay homage.
The element that almost makes all of this funny is that Cipriano, singing the lyrics of Ebony And Ivory, is actually promoting racial equality, but the players of the race card fail to notice this detail. It seems that, as well as the true definition of discrimination, the concepts of irony and hypocrisy go uncomprehended by these PC fanatical simpletons.