Dear Antena3,

Our skin is not a costume, nor is it something you can try on for the night and flirt with all in the name of entertainment. The concept of ‘Blackface’ came about in the early 19th century when white actors would paint their faces black and create lifelike caricatures of plantations slaves in what was referred to as ‘Minstrel Shows’. These shows helped to create stereotypes about black people and enforce the idea that whites were superior.

There are numerous reports and blogs, websites, wikipedia pages dedicated to educating people about ‘Blackface’. It has become extremely prevalent in America with stories linked to it all the time in the press. Race is no doubtably a very important issue in America at the moment. So the white American female that portrayed Tracy Chapman in your show tu cara me suena no doubt understood the implications of wearing black face. She would have understood that it was offensive and yet played on the idea that Spain is ignorant and that no one would be outraged. How wrong she was. Numerous expats and even people from around the world have felt outraged by her imitation. If you refer to her personal page which she has since blocked only viewable to those who followed her previously it has been inundated with criticisms and words of advice to try to educate her and the rest of Spain it seems.

I do not wish to label Spain as racist, but it is ignorant of Spain to believe that racism does not exist. I am tired of hearing excuses that your culture is different or that you have only just started allowing immigrants. Please do not try to justify because ultimately those who are offended our aim is not to disgrace you or attack you it is simply to educate you.

Our skin is not a costume…say no to blackface

Maletsatsi Monareng gives  permission for this Open letter to be shared. This correspondence is made accessible to the public.

See video of blackfacing in Spain:

Athena3 – blackfacing in Spain


Image: Screenshots Athena3 – Espectacular caracterización de Alyson Eckmann como Tracy Chapman