A Polish game show faces public outrage after one contestant impersonated Kendrick Lamar in full blackface and fake cornrows, rapping all the rapper’s lyrics including the N-word. Social media users have called out the game show for allowing contestants to impersonate several other celebrities in the past.
The leading TV talent show in Poland has been notably criticized for featuring celebrity contestants in blackface, impersonating artists like Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and the artist formerly known as Kanye West. More recently, the contestant being highlighted for impersonating Lamar in full blackface and fake cornrows is Polish singer Kuba Szmajkowski. The artist went on to win the show, receiving a cash prize for his charity of choice.
Singer Szmajkowski is a Polish star with 163,000 Instagram followers. He won the second episode of the 19th series of the show “Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo,” which is the Polish iteration of the long-running franchise “Your Face Sounds Familiar.”
On Saturday, he performed Lamar’s beloved song “Humble” in blackface, fake cornrows and a fake beard. He also used the N-word, which went uncensored on the broadcast.
The talent show also featured another Polish celebrity this season, who performed in blackface to impersonate Beyoncé. Actor Pola Gonciarz also darkened her skin to perform Beyoncé’s single “If I Were a Boy.”
Both contestants proudly posted their transformations on social media, promoting their appearances on the show.
This is usual behavior for this platform and Polish performers. Back in 2021, the show was slammed for another blackface performance by actor Tomasz Ciachorowski of Kanye’s single “Stronger.” The show responded that they were “very surprised” that there was controversy over using blackface.
The show argued, “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 honoring the original artist.”
Polsat TV did not immediately make a public comment over this year’s backlash.
Watch the viral video below:
To be clear, blackface has its roots firmly planted in American racism, including and especially minstrel shows back in the 19th century that featured white actors who painted their faces black to act like slaves and newly freed Black people. It was these minstrel shows that largely contributed to the many negative, racial stereotypes that have been associated with Black people for well over a century.
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