I'll just leave this here..

Just think about how this plays out every time a politician or celebrity gets caught out there. It always starts out as a “what they did” conversation. But as soon as the celebrity and their defenders get on camera, they start doing judo flips and switching it into a “what they are” conversation. “I have known this person for years and I know for a fact that they are not a racist. How dare you claim to know what’s inside their soul just because they made one little joke about watermelon, tap dancing, and going back to Africa.”

And then you try to explain that we don’t need to see inside their soul to know they shouldn’t have said all that about the watermelon. And you try to focus on the facts of the situation, but by then it’s too late because the “what they are” conversation is a rhetorical Bermuda triangle where everything drowns in a sea of empty posturing until someone just blames it all on hip-hop and we forget the whole thing ever happened. Don’t let this happen to you.

When somebody picks my pocket, I’m not gonna be chasing him down so I can figure out whether he feels like he’s a thief deep down in his heart. I’m gonna be chasing him down so I can get my wallet back. I don’t care what he is, but I need to hold him accountable for what he did. And that’s how we need to approach these conversations about race. Treat them like they took your wallet and focus on the part that matters, holding each person accountable for the impact of their words and actions.

I don’t care what you are. I care about what you did

Man Says It's Okay To Do Blackface If You Sleep With Black Chicks [Updated]

Friday night, at the Slipper Room, where the local NYC crowd goes for their regular dose of burlesque, a performer got on stage and performed a number in black face. Sigh.

According to sources who were in attendance, Rush Aaron Hicks performed in blackface with no warning and no announcement. The other performers weren't aware it was going to happen, nor was the audience. Our tipster (who wished to remain anonymous) writes,

Friday night show at the Slipper Room — was a mixture of burlesque and variety acts. There was striptease, a juggling/hula hooping act, and a magician. [...] [Hicks has] never performed in blackface before to my knowledge. He has a condition that makes his skin flexible and his bones loose in their sockets, so he performs physical feats that creep people out. He was called upon last minute by the producer and so showed up to the venue with no costume, which is why he apparently made the last minute decision to go on in blackface.

But it was Hicks' attempted public defense of his actions (ART!!! QUIT BEING SO SENSITIVE!) that really pushed this stunt from terrible, horrible, no good, very bad into genuinely fucking awful territory.


Time and time again we have discussed how inappropriate, harmful, and straight up stupid black face is, but idiocy can be unrelenting. After the expected and rightful backlash, the performer, a clown (no really a clown) took to his Facebook to set the record straight. Not to apologize or anything, but rather to clear his character of the suggestions of racism by talking about sleeping with a couple black women and working with at-risk youth. I'm not even kidding.

I cannot understand how the idea that moral characteristics are a thing that can be canceled out by certain deeds. It's not like you can pick up some litter from the ground and put it in the trash and SHAZAM you're not racist anymore! Bigotry is not subject to immunity. Volunteering doesn't clear a person from other shitty behavior, and sleeping with black women doesn't give you any right to do black face. The. fucking. end. Or is it? Hicks goes on.

First of all, I'm not sure what he just typed was English. Second, why are we comparing different forms of bigotry and how well they lend themselves to humor? Both are just as relevant as ever, sometimes they even interact, and all of the time, they suck. Sigh.

SHOCKINGLY, not everyone was into Hicks' act.

Listen: Friends don't let friends do black face/be the type of person to do black face and then talk about all the reasons why they're not actually racist.

Image via Rush Hicks' YouTube.

UPDATE: We reached out to the Slipper Room and spoke with Artistic Director James Habacker, who said that Hicks' performance this past weekend was a last minute booking, and his future bookings have since been canceled due to the incident. He confirmed that Hicks' decision to go onstage in blackface was last minute. Habacker stated:

The Slipper Room does not have a policy of telling artists what they can and can't do in their act. I believe that it was a poor choice for him to do black face, and his unfortunate comments after the fact I think have only served to make things worse for him.

We've always been a places that's welcomed diversity. Over the years we've had people on our stage of every ethnicity, sexual orientation, body type, proclivity, we've always been very open. An artist will sometimes make choices you may not understand, they may do things you find shocking, do things you may find offensive, and that's part of what art is, but then if you're going to talk about the art and rationalize it in the way that he has, I can't stand behind that.