Blackface Featured Again In Performance During Chinese CCTV New Year’s Television Special

Youtube screenshot/CCTV

Neil Shah Contributor
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Dance performers wearing blackface were once again featured in the annual Chinese Central Television (CCTV) special known as the Chinese New Year Gala or Spring Festival Gala, the Washington Post reported.

The specific dance performance, the opening act, which featured yodeling, African dance costumes, drum beating from both the men and the women, as well as elaborate makeup across the face, consisted of a short segment in which the drum-beating Chinese men made rounds across the stage while wearing blackface, according to a video of the performance from the CCTV YouTube channel.

The purpose of the Chinese New Year Gala is to celebrate Chinese New Year by highlighting different aspects of Chinese culture, politics, and tradition. The performances also include different cultures and traditions to highlight the relations between China and these foreign countries, which is why the show featured individuals wearing blackface, according to BBC.

This television special airs on the eve of Chinese New Year in celebration of this holiday and features different types of performances like comedy acts, songs and dance, acrobats, magic and Chinese opera, according to the Chinese New Year 2021 website. (RELATED: Massive Crowds Gather For New Years In Wuhan, Where The Coronavirus Originated)

In response to this controversial performance at the Chinese New Year Gala, The Black China Caucus, an organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of black professionals in China, posted tweets about it, expressing their disappointment with the featuring of performers wearing blackface, given the problematic history of Chinese caricatures of foreign people and black people.

Another organization, Black Livity China, which documents the experience of black people living in China, tweeted their similar disappointment about this dance performance writing that they were “extremely [disappointed]” to see blackface during Chinese New Year Gala because of the “impact scenes such as these have on African and Afro-diasporic communities living in China.”

Blackface has made an appearance at the Chinese New Year Gala before where there was a controversial comedy skit in which a Chinese actress was wearing blackface while adorned with exaggerated buttocks to mimic the physical characteristics of black people, per a news report from BBC that year.