It’s 2021 and some people still have not grasped the concept that they should not wear blackface—even politicians.
A Virginia councilman who was called out for wearing blackface is now trying to reverse the narrative, saying he was just trying to express himself like comedian Dave Chappelle, NBC 12 Richmond reports.
Faron Hamblin shared a photo over the weekend wearing the costume of an iconic character from Eddie Murphy’s film Coming to America. Dressed as Randy Watson (the lead singer of a Queens-based fictional music group, Sexual Chocolate), the Warsaw councilman nailed the character’s powder blue tuxedo. The character, played by Murphy in the film, wore an infamous, oily Jheri Curl wig—which Hamblin somehow managed to finagle. Issue was, Hamblin—a white man—also slathered himself in brown makeup. NBC12 in Richmond was able to capture screenshots of the photo before it was deleted.
The councilman captioned the photo by saying he was paying respects to a friend who passed away. However, that plan didn’t go that well. After posting the image on social media, Hamblin immediately received a slew of online backlash regarding his choice to don blackface.
“The thing that annoys me about these is you can still do the costume without the blackface,” a user posted on Reddit. “Cosplayers do that shit all the time without yellow face. Ffs have some goddamn sense.
“You could depict a character without smearing paint on yourself to change your race, especially to black,” wrote another Reddit user. “I would’ve recognized Randy Watson without the blackface as long as he had the Soul Glo.”
Hamblin provided a bizarre non-apology apology on his Facebook account—but then deleted that post, too. In screenshots captured by NBC12, Hamblin wrote, “I made a post that hurt a lot of folks and that was not my intention.”
He said that he was heartbroken that people were calling him a racist.
“Folks I made a post of me dressed like the movie character Randy Watson. For those of you who know the movie, Randy is a [B]lack man. So I dressed the part. Suit, hair and, yes, my makeup was brown. Many saw it degrading, which I did not. I did it to show my love for the character and the movie. But since I’m white, it’s considered by some as offensive to dress as a [B]lack person,” he wrote, according to NBC12 screenshots.
Hamblin continued, saying how Eddie Murphy portrayed a white Jewish man in the film.
“I can’t speak for the Jewish community and I’m sure some were offended. But Eddie showed his freedom of expression. He never meant any ill harm to the Jewish community,” he posted.
Then, he compared himself to Dave Chappelle and the harsh critiques he has gotten for perceived transphobia in his latest comedy special, The Closer, on Netflix.
The difference, however, that Hamblin doesn’t seem to understand is that blackface has a deep racist history that has been rooted in oppressing Black people in America. White performers would darken their skin to mock enslaved and free Black people, which turned into stereotypes and caricatures that Black people still have to fight. The purpose was to entertain white audiences while reinforcing Black people’s social inferiority.
Hamblin, on the other hand, seemed not to grasp the concept.
“Like Eddie, or Dave Chappelle, I don’t go around walking on eggshells, worried about hurting someone’s feelings,” Hamblin posted. “But I never intended for this to be a racist issue.
“I try to be a good person and help others regardless of who they are,” he wrote.
Since the firestorm, he posted lyrics to The Greatest Love of All on his page, a song infamously performed by Coming to America’s Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate.