Here is the shocking video of the Jackson Jive, an Australian black-face skit which aired on channel 9 in Australia on the amateur Hey Hey It’s Saturday show. The Michael Jackson Five impression has caused an international firestorm which questions the racial sensitivities of Australians, thanks to some harsh words by Harry Connick Jr. which brought the controversy to light. See the video below.
The Jackson Five imitators wear Afro wigs and black-face makeup except for Michael Jackson himself, who of course is presented in white-face which depicts his skin disease. It is donned as a tribute to Michael Jackson.
Far from uneducated lugs, the Jackson Jive group performing the Jackson Five impression in black-face are all highly-educated doctors.
At the conclusion of the skit, Harry Connick Jr had some harsh words to say for the performance, the host, and the show itself. He was a judge on the show. At the end, Hey Hey It’s Saturday host Daryl Sommers apologizes to the audience, accepting the error in judgment which allowed the skit to air.
One thing for sure is that Americans do not have the moral high-ground to judge Australian culture well. Unlike the United States, Australians never had slavery and therefore do not have the same social issues associated with race as us Americans.
The same is true of modern Europe. Americans are all too often shocked at the utterances of European politicians who make light of racial issues, failing to understand they do not have the same dark history as the United States. Our reaction reminds me of the famous Casablanca scene in which the precinct captain is shocked to find gambling in a casino.
Racial jokes and stereotypes found in other nations, including blackface makeup, should be viewed carefully in this light as we reflect that our own history is quite different. Although Australian history includes oppression of Aboriginal peoples, much like our forefathers oppressed Native Americans, this is a far different history than slavery.
This is not to excuse the performance or the audience’s generally favorable reaction. Polls in Australia say most who watched were offended.
Now see the video of the Jackson Jive group imitating Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five in black-face makeup. And hear what Harry Connick Jr. had to say about the portrayal.
Curious as to reader thoughts.