A singing reality series in Poland appears to have defended its use of blackface, stating they are ‘surprised’ by the mounting criticism.
Your Face Sounds Familiar is a popular franchise across Europe, with versions in Spain and Bulgaria, and sees celebrity contestants attempt to impersonate a singer, who has been designated to them, vocally and visually.
However, it has meant that much of the predominantly white cast have been assigned Black musicians such as Beyonce and Tina Turner. Rather than stopping short at wearing similar outfits to the artists, the celebrities have been covered in make-up to present themselves as Black.
Backlash mounted on social media over the weekend as clips of the stars getting made up in blackface began circulating online.
The team behind Your Face Sounds Familiar has since addressed the controversy and they are standing by the production.
In an Instagram post, they said: ‘Dear Viewers, we are very surprised with the number of negative comments regarding to the [sic] tv show “Your Face Sounds Familiar”.
‘The Polish edition of the show, seen as exemplary abroad, always tries to show great performances, which strive to be as close to the original as possible. Incredibly important for us, as well as for the artists taking part in the show, is the charity aspect of the programme.’
Producers said that the aim of the singing competition is for the celebrities to recreate the musician while ‘trying to be as accurate in the depiction as they can’.
Their statement continued: ‘The producers and contestants of all previous series of the show, had always one thing in mind – to recreate most accurately (vocally, movement-wise and visually) the big music stars of Polish or foreign origin – which are selected for them randomly.
‘A team of professionals watches over this process and they prepare the artist for their performance.’
They noted the famous celebrities who have appeared on the Polish version and impersonated Black singers; including Kasia Skrzynecka as Tina Turner, Agnieszka Włodarczyk as Michael Jackson, Mariusz Totoszko as Stevie Wonder, Natalia Szroeder as Whitney Houston, Kacper Kuszewski as Missy Elliott, and Aleksandra Szwed as Beyonce.
‘The intention of each star performing on the show, as well as of the whole production team, is to recreate the original performance in the most precise manner, while honouring the original artist,’ they said.
‘The artist, who is of the utmost importance for all of us, who love music.’
Reacting to the statement, one critic surmised: ‘Basically they aren’t sorry, they’ve done it in the past and didn’t catch any heat so they’ll do it again.’
‘Where’s the apology?’ another wondered.
An upset commentator said: ‘They said all that and still didn’t even acknowledge the problem. Do they not see how it’s racist?? Just because they’ve been doing it for years, it doesn’t mean it’s okay. A big big tv show as well, they need to do better.’
Commenting under a post of a contestant in blackface as Bill Withers, one outraged Instagram user wrote: ‘I can’t get over the fact that you guys do this it’s not ok no matter where you are.’
‘Can’t tell which is worse the performance or the Blackface,’ another said.
One fumed: ‘F**k this show…..f*****g horribly offensive.’
Your Face Sounds Familiar has almost 50 formats around the world and launched in 2011 with the Spanish version Tu cara me suena.
Credit: Original article published here.