Nick Cannon has donned whiteface to promote his upcoming album, “White People Party Music.” If this is what “post-racial” looks like, who knew it would come wearing plaid flannel?
“It’s official... I’m White!!!,” the caption reads. "#WHITEPEOPLEPARTYMUSIC#Wppm in stores April 1st!!!!!!Dude Go Get It!!!Join The Party!!!! #GoodCredit#DogKissing#BeerPong#FarmersMarkets#FistPumping#CreamCheeseEating#RacialDraft “Bro I got drafted!!""
And unlike Julianne Hough did after she appeared in blackface for a Halloween costume inspired by her fave character in “Orange Is the New Black,” the “America’s Got Talent” host isn’t taking anything back, and certainly isn’t apologizing.
Instead, Cannon has been going to town on Twitter, egging people on and retweeting messages of support for his character.
Meanwhile, headlines on stories about the promotional effort have run from neutral to critical, while reader comments have been both pro and con. The words “double standard” have been bandied about by both sides (and Cannon’s most recent tweet as of this writing seemed to indicate he’d heard from his share of “haters” -- the placid penthouse view he shared had "#NotAHaterInSight,” he said).
“Damn I didn’t know it was going to be this hard being White! ... I’m exhausted with all this “privilege” LOL #WhitePeopleProblems,” he’d tweeted Tuesday.
Also from Tuesday: “I’m not sure if I’m offended.... Or if this is genius. Guess I’ll just wait and see,” Twitter user @JC said in a comment retweeted by Mr. Mariah Carey.
“Hold up… What the ... is ‘White Face’??? Did I just create a new term??? Nice!!! LOL,” Cannon tweeted Monday afternoon.
He didn’t exactly invent whiteface: New York Magazine has a nice feature from around the time the 2004 movie “White Chicks” came out, talking about the history of the minstrel show and its descendant, reverse minstrelsy. Think Eddie Murphy on “Saturday Night Live,” or the aforementioned Shawn and Marlon Wayans comedy, to name a couple of contemporary comedic examples. Not to mention earlier, serious works including “A Day of Absence” by the Negro Ensemble Company in the 1960s.
Cannon on Tuesday referenced Robert Downey Jr.'s blackface performance in “Tropic Thunder,” posting an Instagram shot of the actor in full costume and makeup and writing, “Shout out to @RobertDowneyJr This is one of my favorite characters of all time! Hilarious!!! There is a big difference between Humor and Hatred.”
Before the whole Smallnut hubbub, Cannon talked about the album title with Us Weekly.
“You go to a party and white people are having more fun than anybody ... ,” he told the magazine. “I could have named the album ‘Purple People Party Music’ and you’d still get the same album, but it was just one of those things. You know, you deal with things like race, and people get uptight, so why not?”
He said he came up with the title through his work as a DJ, creating play lists, one of which bore the same name.
“It’s hilarious,” he said.
Do you agree?