Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
That is a lot of money, jobs and livelihoods for it not to matter.
This is a really great blog post about inspiring people who want to effect change in the media! There is power for, by, and from The People, and this blogger lays out a pretty great argument for how to use that individual power, no matter how small it may seem, to enliven the colors, genders, ability and sexualities we see onscreen.
Somebody informed me that Billy Crystal has BEEN doing blackface impersonations practically his whole career. Did em all the time on SNL.
So, just fyi…minstrelsy never went away. People build their careers off of…
Does this really surprise anyone, considering Walt Disney was anti-Semitic? I don’t find it hard to believe he was a racist, white supremacist bastard. That being said, I had NO clue about Mickey, and I don’t remember Bosko, but that is fucked. I’m done with Disney. Fuck them and their racist ways and their misogynistic view of women.
It’s interesting to me that you’ve taken a conversation that was about the anti-Black foundations of American entertainment and compartmentalized it into one evil man being evil.
This isn’t about Disney. The corporation or the man. And it is not about just general racism. This is about all white people, about all white entertainers ever, about the very thing we conceive of as entertainment and how much all of that was built on anti-Blackness.
Yeah, Bosko’s not even a Disney character. This is so far from something one man did, it was an industry. And seriously, with regards to that last line I bolded… even knowing that the characters’ origins were in blackface, it’s really stark to have the comparison between the standard “merry melody” style cartoon and minstrelsy tropes laid out.
The fact that Warner Bros. published its cartoons under the banners “Merry Melodies” and “Loony Tunes”… okay, nowadays we tend to think “toon” rather than “tune”, but it’s tune as in song, and it’s because the standard cartoon was an animated minstrel show, in every sense of the phrase. If you go look at the original Warner Bros. characters from the time of Mickey and all the other Disney characters drawn from the same model, you see a bunch of characters with names like “Foxy” and “Piggy” that could have stood next to Mickey, Goofy, Horace, and Clarabelle and not looked out of place.
This isn’t something that was subtle or secret. And it didn’t die out in the thirties. In the 1950s Chuck Jones was putting latter-day minstrel songs in “One Froggy Evening”, a cartoon that’s so iconic as to be instantly recognizable in parody or homage. The Bosko cartoons were in rotation in Nick At Night’s Loony Tune highlight blocks in the 90s, along with any number of generic Merry Melody cartoons with non-recurring characters performing musical numbers that would invariably include an Al Jolson tribute.
In the intervening decades, any time there was a chance for someone to have a car exhaust backfire in their face, or light an exploding cigar, or get ink or oil squirted in their face, it was a chance to insert a blackface “gag” that may have been cut or edited down in modern airings… with or without the mugging for the camera and singing a minstrel song, the fact that getting one’s face blacked is part of the standard visual language of animation is revealing.
This is something that stares us in the face every time we see a “classic” WB or Disney short, and if we don’t see it, it’s at least in part because that’s what a short cartoon is to us. It’s the genre.
(NB: I’m focusing on animation because it’s a subject I’m familiar with, not because it should be singled out to the exclusion of other media.)
Interesting thread exploring the history of animation and it’s connection to minstrely and perpetuating stereotypes.
Yes - it’s not all on Disney. It’s an industry-wide thing. Credit where credit’s due.
Page 1 of 2