Country singer and Dancing with the Stars star Julianne Hough brought her level of fame up a few notches, but not for anything she should be proud of.
The 25-year-old Utah native took racism to new heights when she, a white entertainer, donned blackface to the Casamigos Tequila Halloween Party on Friday night. Casmigos is owned by Rande Gerber and George Clooney and has promoted itself with the claim to be Oprah’s favorite tequila. In addition to the minstrel-show makeup, Hough had on a neon orange jumpsuit, nametag that said “Crazy Eyes” and her hair tied up in a knotty style all over her head. She was meant to be a character that is played by black actress Uzu Aduba on the hit Netflix series, Orange is the New Black.
There has been no word from Aduba yet on how she feels about the costume.
Following intense outrage from just about everyone with Internet access, Hough took to the Twitterverse to issue an apology.
“I am a huge fan of the show Orange is the New Black, actress Uzo Aduba, and the character she has created,” Hough tweeted. “It certainly was never my intention to be disrespectful or demeaning to anyone in any way. I realize my costume hurt and offended people and I truly apologize.”
The trend of celebs taking to social media to issue apologies is mildly comforting in terms of timeliness. Sending out a tweet immediately after an off-color (no pun intended) joke or statement shows that they do realize what they did was wrong and would like to correct it as quickly as possible.
However, a 140-character apology just doesn’t seem to be able to discuss hundreds of years of racism and decades of the use of blackface makeup. A short tweet sent out over cyberspace does not erase the deep-rooted racism that is behind the use of blackface.
HBO Girls star Lena Dunham made this same point back in February when comedian Lisa Lampanelli referred to Duham as her “n****” in a tweet.
Dunham initially remained silent because she feels that “Twitter debates breed more Twitter debates,” but eventually broke her silence and issued an apology over the site. She also summed up the idea of having such intense debates over Twitter perfectly when she said, “140 characters will never be enough for the kind of dialogue that will actually help us address issues of race and class.”
Apologizing for racism via 140 characters is not enough. Hough — take note.
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