APB Speaker Wil Haygood Explains America’s Troubled Legacy of Blackface in Sunday’s New York Times
08 Feb 2019
Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s blackface yearbook photo is just the latest “in a long and troubled cultural legacy of racist stereotypes being used to entertain,” says best-selling author, cultural historian and acclaimed biographer Wil Haygood.
The APB speaker explains, “it has been part of American popular culture since what we recognize as popular culture emerged—roughly around 1832.” In a brilliant piece in the Sunday New York Times, Haygood chronicles the history and cultural significance of blackface, from minstrel shows to The Jazz Singer, Amos and Andy and the opera Othello (which the Met only stopped performing in blackface in 2015). Noting that we are examining the Northam scandal during Black History Month, Haygood provides an illuminating look at the racist legacy of blackface, declaring that, “As those recent revelations in Virginia have shown us, it is never long before another door opens and another photo emerges, and there he stands again, the man in blackface.”