Former “Saturday Night Live” star Jimmy Fallon switched gears in his professional career as a comedic actor to host “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on NBC in 2009.
Five short years later, Fallon had catapulted himself to the king of late-night talk shows after replacing legendary NBC “The Tonight Show” host, Jay Leno, in 2014.
But Jimmy Fallon’s Hollywood career might be over for good after this photo resurfaced.
They call it blackface. It’s when a nonblack person uses makeup to dress up as a black person. Sometimes it’s for laughs and sometimes it’s for a Halloween costume party.
But it’s also highly offensive to the African American community.
Many prominent people have been caught doing it in the past like current Virginia Democrat Governor Ralph Northam, where a high school yearbook picture surfaced of him dressed in blackface and another man dressed as a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore blackface to a party at a private school where he was teaching in 2001. Again, the picture was taken from a school yearbook showing Trudeau at an “Arabian Nights”-themed gala wearing a turban, robes, and his face and neck darkened.
Neither Gov. Northam nor Prime Minister Trudeau resigned in their position despite pressure to do so.
But that resignation is what many are calling for regarding Jimmy Fallon, who wore blackface during a sketch on “Saturday Night Live” when he was impersonating fellow comedian and African American, Chris Rock, 20 years ago.
The sketch was called “Regis co-host auditions” that aired on March 11th 2000 where Regis Philbin held auditions for his new co-host.
NBC actually edited that sketch to omit Fallon’s performance from the sketch.
Fallon took to social media last week to address the issue and apologize.
The 45-year-old wrote on Twitter, “In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
The Merry-Go-Round of social media users were unimpressed by the controversy while others called for his job. You know the routine.
Many of the unimpressed pointed to the many white caricatures Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle played during their careers. What’s the difference here?
Many were already aware of this photo years ago like actor Nick Cannon who called Fallon out in February 2019 for the use of blackface.
Cannon wrote on Instagram “Are these your Kings of Late Night?” Cannon tagged both Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel in a video that shows both of the late-night hosts dressing up in blackface.
The “Drumline” actor added, “you know I’m always on the side of the comedian and never pander to the sensitive, but I feel there needs to be some “truth & reconciliation” discussions and teachable moments amongst our communities. I’m ready and willing for the discourse, so who wants to step up to the table first?”
The irony of all this is that blackface started in old Hollywood movies, and before that on the American stage, where white actors would wear blackface to depict black characters because they didn’t trust them to act the parts.
Have you ever seen 1915’s “Birth of a Nation?”
That is still widely regarded as a landmark in cinema, which features white people in blackface. If you want to fix this blackface problem, then you need to go to Hollywood to fix it because that’s where it all started.