Oct 8, 2009
Is Harry Connick Jr., a Hero or Hypocrite?
After a string of White men who called themselves, "The Jackson Jive" showed up on the Australian TV show, Hey Hey It's Saturday in black face doing a parody of The Jackson 5 the US visiting judge Harry Connick Jr., was left with a bitter taste in his mouth.
American singer and actor Harry Connick Jr., who was serving as a guest judge on Wednesday night's "Hey Hey It's Saturday," was visibly shocked by the skit, in which four men with afro wigs and blackface sang and danced behind a Michael Jackson impersonator wearing white makeup.
Connick, 42, gave the performance a zero score and told them that if it had been done in the United States it would have been pulled off the air.
Blackface was a traditional trope of minstrel shows in the U.S. that dates to the 19th century. Whites playing stock black characters — usually offensive stereotypes meant to demean — rubbed coal, grease or shoe polish on their faces. Blackface performances are not common in Australia.
Public reaction to the "Hey Hey" performance in online forums was mixed. Some Australians said they were embarrassed such a racist sketch had been broadcast, while others said detractors were too politically correct and that the skit was funny.
At a news conference on other issues Thursday morning, opposition politician Helen Coonan labeled the skit "disgusting."
Host Daryl Somers apologized to Connick at the end of the live show.
"I know that to your countrymen, that's an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show, so I do apologize to you," Somers said.
Connick said he would not have appeared on the show if he'd known about the skit.
"I just want to say, on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we've spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart," he told Somers after his apology.
Anand Deva, the front man of the "Jackson Jive" act, said it was not meant to cause offense but added he would not have performed it in the United States.
Meanwhile, Harry Connick Jr., has been a little insensitive himself, especially since he done a skit impersonating a black Southern preacher.
So the question here is, was Connick Jr., a hero for standing up to the racist bafoonish skit? Or should he just hush up and go sit down since he was involved in a skit himself on MAD T.V.?
Watch the skit here.
Stay Blessed & Happy Locing!