Harry Connick Jr. threw a fit when he saw a group portraying the Jackson Five, performing in BLACKFACE, on a talent show in Australia. Almost immediately, stations around this country began airing a comedy routine he did on Mad TV. He portrayed a black preacher. Some people now think it was hypocritical for him to speak out about the group. I think it was a normal reaction of any American that grew up in this Country. We all grow up, right?
He had on dark make up. That is not the same as Mammy Blackface. The Wayans made a movie portraying white people. There is no insult in that. I think his reaction to what he saw was what you should expect from any American. I say "You go Boy"
From what I can see of the clip, I can understand why Harry was very uncomfortable. I'm sure that the Australians didn't mean anything by it because it's not like they have a history with black people like we do up here. The skit of what I could see of it does look very strange. I'm not sure it succeeded as parody or tribute as they claim.
Regarding the confusion with the southern preachers. Harry has a deep tan, that's probably why in the MadTV sketch, the Australians thought he was portraying a black southern preacher instead of a white southern preacher. That was funny.
No, they didn't, but I can also see why Americans would be super-sensitive about it.
The reason for the black face was simple - these were white and Indian people playing the Jackson Five. They also had a frontman who was playing Michael Jackson with PURE WHITE makeup on. Obviously the joke about MJ's face wouldn't have worked if the backing group hadn't blacked up. It was as innocent as that.
They were young people and they may not know the history behind Blackface. I just think Harry should not be considered a hypocrite for his reaction to seeing those kids in blackface. He did the right thing.
I think he was a bit over sensitive about it. The fact is that Australian's don't give two hoots for political correctness. You have only got to look at some of the TV ads we get here - some of them would never get aired in other countries. But he did explain quite pleasantly what his problem was and the show went on - it wasn't such a major drama. He appeared as a judge on Australian Idol a few days later. I think the thing has been blown up a bit.