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By Harriet J. Manning

Blackface minstrelsy, the nineteenth-century functionality perform within which rules and pictures of blackness have been developed and theatricalized via and for whites, maintains to permeate modern renowned song and its viewers. Harriet J. Manning argues that this legacy is nowhere extra glaring than with Michael Jackson in whom minstrelsy’s gestures and tropes are embedded.

During the 19th century, blackface minstrelsy held jointly a large number of meanings and while black entertainers took to the level this complexity used to be compounded: minstrelsy turned an enviornment within which black stereotypes have been instantaneously enforced and critiqued. This physique of contradiction at the back of the blackface masks presents a good method of attempt to comprehend Jackson, a cultural determine approximately whom extra questions than solutions were generated. Symbolized by way of his personal whiteface masks, Jackson was once right away ‘raced’ and raceless and this ambiguity allowed him to serve an entire host of others’ wishes - a functionality of the masks that has run lengthy and deep via its tortuous heritage. certainly, Manning argues that minstrelsy’s assumptions and makes use of were basic to the concerns and controversies with which Jackson used to be beset.

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