Can blackface be far behind?

Rashod D. Ollison in the Baltimore Sun:

Williams_b_pic2Free of irony or tongue-in-cheek cleverness, so-called “minstrel rap” appears to be a throwback to the days when performers (some black, some white) rubbed burnt cork on their faces and depicted African-Americans as buffoons. Excluding Ms. Peachez, these new millennium minstrel rappers don’t sport painted faces. But the music, dances and images in the videos are clearly reminiscent of the era when pop culture reduced blacks to caricatures: lazy “coons,” grinning “pickaninnies,” sexually super-charged “bucks.”

“Minstrelsy has never died. It has evolved,” says Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, associate professor of theater at Virginia Commonwealth University. Through The Conciliation Project, a nonprofit arts organization she oversees, Pettiford-Wates uses old minstrelsy to spark open dialogue about racism in modern America. “My problem with minstrel hip-hop is that it exploits the images but doesn’t put them in any context. You just get these images and no desire to unmask or interrogate them.”

More here.