If it was not for the show of ignorance in wearing blackface, perhaps, Bulgarian singer Mihaela Marinova’s rendition of Nomcebo Zikode’s performance on Master KG’s global hit Jerusalema would have received the plaudits it deserved.
Watch: Bulgarian singer wears blackface to mimick Nomcebo on Jerusalema
As reported by Tshisa Live, Marinova painted her face black and reshaped her hair into Zikode’s signature fade to look the part of her performance on Bulgaria’s talent show Kato 2 Kapki Voda.
From an artistic perspective, her tone and vocal range — by virtue of the talent show’s judging criteria — ticked all the boxes. On stage, Marinova gave it her all and the audience was on its feet, dancing along to the global smash hit that was, at one point, the most Shazamed song on the planet.
Except, the Bulgarian songstress did all of this masked in blackface, a practice that has long been shunned by society as highly offensive.
are my eyes deceiving me….. pic.twitter.com/rOVMr6QTnn— Lia ✨ (@leefin_a) March 18, 2021
Video footage of the process it took to pull off the Nomcebo-inspired blackface surfaced on social media, causing further outrage.
For those who don’t get it – Here’s why blackface is offensive
One could argue that Marinova didn’t know any better. Painting her face a few shades darker and customising her look to fit the appearance of Zikode was a crucial part of her performance on the talent show.
While this, from a neutral perspective, is understandable, it does expose a great deal of ignorance that still exists in the global non-black community.
Racism is deeply rooted in the identity of black people and that has more to do with instances like these, where people of colour are constantly reminded of the traumas they faced in the past.
The origins of blackface can be traced back to the 1800s when, as detailed in this informative piece by CNN, white performers would paint their faces black to mock African slaves in minstrel shows.
These performances, which were showcases all across the United States (US) and other Western colonies, depicted black people as primitive and illogical beings who could not function without the instruction of ‘massa’.
These images have been passed on through generations and the constant resurgence of blackface in modern times still triggers memories of a time when people of colour were treated by society as three-fifths of a human.
Perhaps, this informative video on the history and impact of blackface will help those who have scoffed at the recent outrage surrounding the Bulgarian ‘Nomcebo’.