Blackface and Representations of Blackness

Mysia Perry

My senior thesis will be an analysis of the way Black artist participation complicates Blackface. We know Blackface as a concept that illustrates racism through stereotypes and  prejudices, but having black voices contribute to the art of Blackface develops it in a way that highlights the complexities of the art form. This thesis will illustrate how Blackface, though associated with the skit style of minstrel shows, is more than the paint that often characterizes it. It will examine varying caricatures of Blackness that initiate Blackface—with and without paint— and how they have grown from artists like Stepin Fetchit, Bert Williams, and Hattie McDaniel.


American Studies


Bertram Ashe