We are not racists, but… A winged message that emerges from the comments below the newspaper articles that your face has a famous voice in the license abandons the practice of the so-called blackface, which refers to the style of decadent entertainment that prevails in the United States in 19th century, when whites painted their faces black, parodying and ridiculing black slaves and their “fallen” entertainment. Because blackface has historically been associated with slavery and colonialism, it is particularly offensive to blacks. And so, while in the third season of this popular show we could see, for example, Markéta Konvičková as Areth Franklin with dark make-up or Martin Dejdar as the singer of The Weeknd, in the current eighth series, they present depictions of other ethnicities without the proverbial “Shoe polish”. Actor David Gránský is known as Jason Derulo, but his skin color does not change.
“Macaque with white skin”
In the ordinary and tabloid media, the theme of the unconscious blackface in this show, which is based on the most perfect imitation of popular singers, appeared in many waves. This has always been the case with a particular depiction of a black (or Latin) artist. However, it was certainly not an issue that would in any way interest the landscape of the Czech media. And so, for example, in 2017, when TV Nova aired the third and fourth series, blackface started just talk, in the penultimate, seventh series from last year, was already a topic discussed in the mainstream. Among other things, the change in the global social debate with the Black Lives Matter movement and the overall effort to raise awareness of the issues of racism or colonization play a role.
You do not have to be a racist to offend someone, just ignore it.
And social networks, which can start a social debate, which, however, usually leads nowhere, also play a role in this. Thus, while some under the instagram profile of the contest with Jitka Čvančarová, imitating Cardi B, tried to explain why they did not consider it appropriate to use the word n, even if the lyrics provide for it, others were angry with a another politically correct pseudo-problem, which only spoils the good fun. And the last, April statement of the PR coordinator of the show Vojta Boháček was not enough, which could close the whole affair and after which we could continue to have fun in the happy show in a calm and inappropriate way: “TV Nova produces always its programs according to the requirements of the owner. Times change, and with it the image of what our culture considers acceptable. TV Nova is aware of these changes and reflects them. “Our goal has always been and is to respect and celebrate artists from all over the world, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any other characteristics,” Boháček told Expres.cz.
However, the Czech viewer, who without knowledge of the context is not able to understand what exactly white is in racist black, was not excited. And so, under a Facebook post with Granian as Derul, we can read that “it’s not how unpainted it is”, “an insult is more when they make a black man white than when they leave him black” or “instead of looking like black, looked like macaques with white skin and black fur “and the like. Questions about skin color are answered briefly by one of the commenters below the post: is currently linked to racism. “
Are we really so picky about the idea that someone deprives us of the right to entertainment, that we lose the context that a similar kind of entertainment can bring? Maybe so, fortunately we do not have to worry about being alone in the world. Because a short distance from us we still have the Italian television culture, which developed from the mushroom of the bigoted desires of a powerful man – Silvio Berlusconi. And some kind of racism (or, of course, sexism) in the name of entertainment is no stranger to this television entertainment.
And it’s the Italian television production of the late 1980s that shows the influence of entertainment culture on society and politics, not describing and designing the world around them, but creating its own distorted version in the name of subtle propaganda. in the spirit of “bread and toys”.
The Italian person has a racist voice
“You do not have to be a racist to insult someone, just ignore it. You may not move at all out of hatred. The black community has asked the creators of the program several times to stop. No one in the world does it anymore and articles are being written about us. No show required in the name of entertainment. In November 2020, La stampa quoted Milan rapper with Tunisian roots Ghali, who was imitated by Sergio Muniz, including blackface, in the Italian version of Tale e quale. This was not the first time this version of the entertainment program. Even in Italy, the “mandatory” Aretha Franklin and other imitations of black artists took place, always supported by meticulous camouflage. And to feel at least a drop better in the Czech Republic, I would just like to add that while in our country this international band developed by Endemol (which also owns the reality show Big Brother) broadcasts commercial television, in Italy it is performed in the first hour on Rai 1, ie on a public channel.
“You do not need to have a blackface if you want to imitate me or other artists. Think you think I’m exaggerating that I should be able to laugh, that you do not want to offend anyone and I understand. I just want to say that show business no longer needs that. If anyone wanted to scare children in America, it was enough to blacken their face. It’s time to stop. Ghali explained on his Instagram account, advising his fans to watch “I’m not your Negro”.
Such cultural incidents may seem like local cases without much impact, however, a similar chain probably led to stricter rules, which the licensee also requires from Czech Nova TV.
After the flood of Berlusconi
But not only from the blackface, the entertainment of the TV is alive. Just a few weeks after the most popular Italian satirical form called Striscia la notizia (freely translated Catchy News) achieved an international coverage. The moderators, both matados of Italian television entertainment, and even a former MP (for the Socialist Party of PSI), began to imitate the Asian accent “comically” when announcing a report from the headquarters of the Italian Broadcasting Corporation in Beijing. pronouncing “l” instead of “r” and pulling their eyelids in the familiar “macaroon” gesture.
The case was not only in the local media, the incident was noticed by the influential instagram account Diet Prada, which with several million followers has not only influenced the world of fashion for a long time, but is also an important and watched voice on social networks. and political affairs. Diet Prada reminded that such a kind of entertainment is not the best business card for a country with the largest Chinese population in Europe (about 310,000). Especially at a time when racism against the Asian population is on the rise worldwide.
It has been particularly pronounced in Italy during the previous pandemic year. In addition, both coordinators, the aforementioned former MP Gerry Scotti and Michelle Hunziker, model, actress and presenter, are respected public figures who influence public opinion on a daily basis. Hunziker apologized for the incident, saying she did not want to offend Chinese culture, which she reportedly deeply respects. According to Auditel, a company that measures television viewing, the guilty part of the show was seen by more than four and a half million viewers. The show, which combines reporting, commentary and satire, is one of the most iconic and popular shows in the television empire of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and has been airing for almost thirty years. After all, thanks to the television platform Mediaset, which he founded in the late 1970s under the name Fininvest, Berlusconi managed to conquer the world of politics.
Paradise on Earth
The influence that Non é la Rai, for example, had on the results of his first election in 1994 (This is not Rai – the name of the show is a direct ironic allusion to RAI public television) is undeniable. The entertaining evening show, dominated by a giant pool and undressed teenagers, ran from 1991 to 1995 and is now considered one of the pillars of Italian television in the 1990s.
The show, co-hosted by 15-year-old model, first-timer and girl of the show, Ambra Angiolini, is famous, among other things, for the whispered script of Angiolini by the show’s creator Gianni Boncobani, who, for example, let her say in a campaign of Berlusconi that “the devil chooses Oketo, but God in heaven chooses Berlusconi”. Angiolini became the embodiment of the Italian Lolita, a perfect object of “male gaze” without his own opinion, serving exclusively male desires and desires. The background of the whole show is full of fascinating stories and traumatic confessions of just the big girls who played in it.
Non é la Rai and other similar programs have been building Italian television entertainment for decades – the illusion of a perfect world full of slender, half-naked women of their own free will and happy moderators, a dream that Berlusconi and his team used to manipulate In our country, as in Italy, the 1990s are gone forever, but the wild TV production without borders, which intoxicates viewers with the illusion of endless entertainment, without having to look at something or someone and to confess to someone, survives.
The author is a journalist.
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