TheLegacy of Minstrelsy
TheLegacy of Minstrelsy
Veryfew people realize that the artistic and creative production ofMinstrelsy was supposed to address and reflect on African-centeredissues and values. The acts used white performers who employed maskedtechniques to appear as black people, hence, the name ‘blackface’(Williams-Witherspoon, 2013). These methods were used to parodysongs, the wealthy, the enslaved, or a movement, which all tried toportray the African condition. Minstrelsy was used in American popculture to manipulate the Afro-Americans with a motive of pleasingthe whites. In contemporary popular culture and entertainment, thereare elements of the legacy of Minstrelsy such as in realitytelevision, in the hip hop genre of music, and TV shows.
RealityTV presents subtle perceptions of the Minstrelsy legacy. It isunfortunate that the contemporary content creators are continuallyforced to use stereotypes to form identities using the self-image,attitudes, self-perception, as well as perception imposed by others.Such shows include “Keeping up with the Kardashians” whichpresents foul mouthed women, no-good black men, and a sexuallypromiscuous group of people. As a result, everyone is inclined tobelieve the exhibited behavior is common to all black people.
Televisionseries also portray the legacy of Minstrelsy in modern times.“American Dad” is a good example where Stan Smith, the maincharacter, occasionally represents ignorance of other people’sfeelings and values. The show explores this theme of ignorance whichgoes on to form the basis for a blackface episode (Harbord, 2015).Finally, hip hop music tries to inform on issues that affect theblack people in today’s society. In itself, it represents thelegacy of Minstrelsy. For instance, Common and John Legend’s song,‘Glory.’
Inconclusion, the legacy of Minstrelsy is still employed today and moreprevalently in pop culture and entertainment scenes. However, some ofits indications are positively justified while others do not portraythe true image of the black people.
Harbord,J. (2015). Representationsof blackface and minstrelsy in Twenty First Century popularculture (Doctoraldissertation, The University of Salford).
Williams-Witherspoon,K. L. (2013). Blacks on stage: Are we still replicating stereotypesfrom the legacy of minstrelsy. Praxis