I was out and about in NYC over the weekend running errands, and on my way home I spotted the above image at the 23rd Street F subway stop. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at because no one would be dumb enough to let slide an ad that looks like blackface in 2013 NYC, right?
I wasn’t sure what the product I was looking at was. Was it shoe polish? Chocolate? Why was there a white woman with red lips, white teeth and brown paint on her face, smiling like a maniac? What was she selling? And why did NYC OK this ad?
I’ve been thinking a lot about blackface recently because of Halloween and the choices ignorant white folks make to don it as a costume every year. From college kids to clueless celebrities, people think its OK to smear themselves with makeup or paint to show homage or to mock characters from TV, athletes or victims of racial profiling, as if being black is a costume you can unzip at whim. Every Halloween is open season on black folks, and no matter how many guides and requests and explanations pointing out the hurt and fallacy and history of these choices, white people still do it.
Research at home on the internet pointed out that Martinson is a coffee company. I’m not a coffee drinker but I know its benefits as an exfoliant and as an tonifier for the liver when used as an enema. But the ad I saw wasn’t talking about that, even though it’s bullshit.