If there’s one thing Oklahomans have proven over the past few weeks, it’s that we just can’t let Black people have their own thing, ranging from the exclusive use of the n-word to simple basics like common human dignity. And as bad as all that is, now it seems like Elk City Commissioner and Mayoral candidate Bill Helton is trying to steal beloved African-American cinematic icon Madea as well.
To quote the Tyler Perry-created character, “Lord please give me patience, because if you give me strength I may just beat someone to death!”
A candidate for the office of mayor in Elk City, Oklahoma is rushing to apologize after video surfaced of him performing in drag and blackface.
According to KFOR, candidate Bill Helton says the performances were “just satire,” and that he never intended the character, named “Pollyester Kotton,” as a racist caricature.
Helton, a hair stylist, says the character was based on a client who came into his shop regularly.
“The character came about from one of my clients, who was African-American, from Texas,” he said.
He performed as the character — wearing a flamboyant hat and a set of joke teeth — to raise money for charities, from 2005 to 2013.
Sorry, Lame Edna, but unless it’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon Night at the BOOM!, there is never, ever, EVER any excuse to don blackface. I don’t care if you get a handwritten note from Yakub himself, just don’t do it. I can’t believe that in 2015 that’s something that even needs to be explicated stated in a public forum.
And really, rednecks, do you even have to? You really do have a rich and diverse tapestry of completely fulfilling comedic drag characters that can cornpone down with the best of ‘em—has no one in Elk City ever seen Greater Tuna? Those creepy late-night commercials for the Stitching Post? Miley Cyrus at the Womb?
As is standard procedure for just about any news story in Oklahoma, the NAACP chimed in:
However, the Oklahoma State Conference of the NAACP’s President Anthony R. Douglas sent a statement to KFOR saying that not everyone is amused by the character.
“Yes, this is a character. Men playing women or a woman playing a man is not new and can be very funny. But in black face? Have we learned nothing at all? This ‘character’ could have been just as effective done without the black face makeup and would be far less offensive,” Douglas said.
Douglas is right: men in drag can be funny. But, sadly, he misses one other thing: sexy. And in regards to my drag character, spicy Latina spitfire Besame Empanada, a little bit of both. To make saucy South of the Border bon mots while feeling the sensuousness of that feminine fabric hug and caress my beefy torso is a truly freeing experience. And if that wasn’t enough, I also get to pay tribute to my rich Mexican heritage. Because I'm Mexican, Mr. Helton.
So Sir/Madame, I implore you: drop the blackface. You don’t need it. With the inclusion of those fake Bubba teeth—A SUREFIRE LAFFER®—there’s no need for Pollyester Kotton to resort to such cheap, malignant gimmicks. Get your mea culpas in now and you can probably even be the opening act for Levi Pettit’s pseudo-apology summer tour.
p.s. - I can’t wait for the comment section to fill up with things like “If black people get to have black faces, why can’t I? That’s reverse racism!”
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