SMH: 10 Celebrities Who Were In Blackface
Recently, Dan Aykroyd reflected on the blackface 'Trading Places' scene, but here are other actors who donned blackface as well.
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For decades, it appears as celebrities who aren't Black rear their problematic heads by, in some way, indulging in the age-old practice of blackface. In an interview with The Daily Beast, veteran actor Dan Aykroyd reflected on his 1982 role in Trading Places, where he was in blackface and said, “I probably wouldn’t choose to do a Blackface part, nor would I be allowed to do it. I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do a Jamaican accent, white face or Black. In these days we’re living in, all that’s out the window." It sounds like Dan has some disappointment that blackface is no longer acceptable. From Julianne Hough to Sarah Silverman to Aykroyd, here are celebrities who were in blackface.
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Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places - Nearly two decades after the Civil Rights era, casual racism still found its way into entertainment. In this 1980s film about a preppy commodities broker (Aykroyd) who trades places with a street hustler (Eddie Murphy), the N-word is dropped with regularity and Aykroyd puts on full blackface to play a pot-smoking Rasta. (Photo: Paramount Pictures)
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Robert Downey, Jr. in Tropic Thunder - In the spoof comedy Tropic Thunder, the A-lister played a dramatic actor so dedicated to his craft, that he donned dark makeup and a wooly wig to play a Black soldier in Vietnam. Though the film was a comedy it definitely rubbed some folks the wrong way. (Photo: DreamWorks)
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John Slattery in Mad Men - One of television's most controversial shows crossed a truly uncomfortable line when it put cavalier ad man Roger Sterling in blackface for the episode "My Old Kentucky Home." Though actor John Slattery described the scene as "horrible" to shoot, he agreed to do it because it was "so commonplace" during the 1960s, the era in which Mad Men is set. (Photo: Mad Men via AMC)
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Judy Garland in Everybody Sing - Years before she became America's sweetheart in The Wizard of Oz, Garland played a character in blackface for this 1938 musical. To play ragamuffin child Opal Pearl Washington, Garland had to don blackface and a wig. Garland also performed in blackface in 1939's Babes in Arms and 1941's Babes on Broadway. (Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)