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Cornrows & Blaccents–the new Minstrel Show

(Frances Benjamin Johnston / Library of Congress)

Minstrel shows were an American form of racist entertainment developed in the early 19th century, even as early as Reconstruction post-Civil War. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music performances that mimicked and ridiculed Black people. Often times, white men, women, and even children would darken their faces and perform caricatures of blackness.

White entertainers perpetuated the stereotypes of the mammy, the over-sexualized wench, the Sambo, and unfortunately plenty of others. There has always been white entertainers who have stolen and profited from Black culture. For decades, Black entertainers and songwriters frequently had their music covered or simply taken for white purposes never to gain the same fame or notoriety as their white counterparts.

Who do we find the greatest culprit of this time and time again? White women.

While Iggy Azalea’s Fancy is “catchy” because of the 47 million times I may have heard it while working with young girls in an after school program, I’m repulsed by her. She may use the excuse of being Australian and often times non-Americanized whites use being foreign as an ignorance to the history of race relations in this country, but it’s the 21st century and Google is free.

White women entertainers and influencers are doing everything to appear Black, for whatever reason. White people cosplaying as Black women and honestly it’s disgusting. Iggy Azelea is the “blueprint” of white girls using blaccents and building careers off the mockery of Black women. She’s the mother for embarrassments such as Whoa Vicky who claimed that she can say nigga because she’s a single digit percent Black. Or Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie, who shot into stardom for being an out of control “ghetto” teen on the Dr. Phil show.

Iggy Azalea is a chronic and serial cultural appropriator. She uses her alignment to Blackness such as being signed by Southern rapper, T.I. and dating of Black men to excuse the fact that she is no different than minstrel show entertainers. The blaccent that uses mocks Black people and our uniqueness and influence of AAVE. She perpetuates the negative stereotypes of Blackness and hip hop culture.

White women are allowed to be mediocre and when that doesn’t work, they are often allowed the space to wear the “costume” of Black femininity where actual Black femmes are denied said opportunity to be authentically themselves.

Can I have an order of misogynoir with a side of white supremacy please?

Iggy Azalea yearbook photo

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