After NBC's Megyn Kelly made a horrific statement about why it should be alright for people to wear blackface on Halloween, the show host emailed a private apology to her colleagues at the network. However, the cast of Today, especially Al Roker, did not shy away from letting Kelly know why she owes the country an apology.
On Tuesday morning’s episode of Megyn Kelly Today, the former Fox News host said darkening white skin was fine "as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character." She made these comments during a roundtable discussion with only white panelists. No Black people were placed on the panel because if they were, the conversation surely would have ended different.
Although she later issued an apology to her "friends and teammates" at NBC News, Roker and others still could not believe the remarks were made in the first place. for her remarks via email.
"Look, the fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country," Al Roker said. "Because this is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race — it wasn't right."
"I'm old enough to have lived through Amos and Andy, where you had white people in blackface playing two Black characters, magnifying the worst stereotypes about Black people. And that's what the big problem is. That's what the issue is."
Craig Melvin, the show's other Black news anchor, also slammed anyone who claimed the criticism was just over-sensitive political correctness.
"There was some criticism yesterday online that this was political correctness run amok," said Melvin. "That's silly and it's disingenuous and it's just as ignorant and racist as the statement itself."
"In addition to [Kelly] being a colleague, she's a friend," Melvin added. "She said something stupid. She said something indefensible. And the fact is, a lot of folks don't realize that Jim Crow — shorthand for the racist laws that existed in this country for much of the last century especially in the deep south — the term 'Jim Crow' is from a minstrel show in the 1830s."
"So, I guess it was an opportunity for us to learn a little bit more about blackface, but I think a lot of people knew about blackface before yesterday," Melvin said.
"You know, you know that no good comes of it," Roker agreed. "It's just not right."
(Photos from left: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Fortune, Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)