Korean TV Airs Racist Sketch With Woman In Blackface And A Headdress

The plot takes a racist twist when the girl comes to visit her father covered head to toe in dark brown paint, wearing dreadlocks and a feathered headdress.

UPDATE: A YouTube video displaying a show in which a character appeared in blackface has been made unavailable, BuzzFeed News reports. Additionally, Yonhap News reports that the network, SBS, has apologized for the incident. Translated from Korean, the apology reads:

"I apologize for the inconvenience to the viewers because I could not carefully review the contents. The crew made an entry and immediately removed the clip from online, and I will make sure that the problem does not recur in the future."

It’s 2017 now, so everybody should just stop with the blackface.

Sadly, South Korea hasn’t understood that yet.

The country’s television network SBS is under fire for airing a racist comedy skit featuring a character that insults not just the African community but Native Americans and Polynesians as well.

The skit aired on the show “Laughing Legend Match,” in which a character named Hyunhee is determined to convince her family that she can become a successful comedienne, despite her father’s disapproval , according to Koreaboo.

However, the plot takes a decidedly racist twist when the girl comes to visit her father covered head to toe in dark brown paint, wearing dreadlocks, a cheetah-printed top, a grass skirt, dreadlocks and a colorful, feathered headdress.

And it’s not just her costume that’s offensive.

The show depicts people making derogatory jokes about her appearance and what she does while wearing the costume. At one point, Hyunhee’s brother exclaimed “Oh look, it’s the human evolution timeline,” which is just one of the crude “jokes” made during the entire unpleasant sketch.

The last scene of the show features the character dancing to “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King.”

As expected, a swift backlash came from within the POC and international K-Pop communities.






Koreans have a history of invoking blackface in their variety shows and idol performances, where it is supposed to indicate a character of African heritage.

Just in March, Mamamoo pop band released a video parodying Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” while they were wearing similar outfits, and of course, were in blackface. The K-Pop band issued an apology for their blatant racism but so far, SBS has not done so for its racist skit.

It is possible the Korean entertainment industry is not well-informed on the racist implication of blackface and do not mean for their performances to come out as racist. However, that is no excuse and it’s about time they educate themselves on cultural sensitivity — and that means ending blackface. Period.

Banner Image Credit: Flickr, Fredrik Rubensson

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