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1. Makeup for a conventionalized comic travesty of black people, especially in a minstrel show.
2. An actor wearing such makeup in a minstrel show.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. (Theatre)
a. a performer made up to imitate a Black person
b. the make-up used by such a performer, usually consisting of burnt cork
2. (Animals) a breed of sheep having a dark face
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



a. black facial makeup, orig. burnt cork, worn by theatrical performers, esp. in minstrel shows.
b. a performer wearing such makeup.
2. a heavy-faced type.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.blackface - the makeup (usually burnt cork) used by a performer in order to imitate a Negroblackface - the makeup (usually burnt cork) used by a performer in order to imitate a Negro
makeup, make-up, war paint - cosmetics applied to the face to improve or change your appearance
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Little noticed in that history is the Catholic Church's connection to the offensive practice--a connection that goes back to the very beginnings of blackface minstrelsy.
Of greatest interest is David Waldstreicher's essay on the origins of blackface minstrelsy, which he locates in the 1814 song "Backside Albany" rather than in the performances of Thomas D.
in American literature at Emory University in 2003, firmly convinced that the most important aspect of my dissertation was the veiy part my adviser forcefully and repeatedly recommended I cut--Mark Twain's complex, pain-filled, ambiguous, and ambivalent use of blackface minstrelsy.
Ruth Elizabeth Dean was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1918, growing up between Denver, Paris, and Los Angeles at a time when the common popularity of blackface minstrelsy had seen it filter down from stage to backyard entertainment.
In The Problem with Apu, Kondabolu argues that having a white actor, Hank Azaria, portray the Indian Apu with an accent exaggerated for comedic effect is akin to blackface minstrelsy, and that Apufor years the only South Asian character on American televisiononly reinforced negative stereotypes that ended up haunting the childhoods of too many South Asian American kids.
He wrote The Cat in the Hat, with a main character whose looks (white gloves, jaunty hat, floppy tie) and actions (outsider, con man, ignorant bumbler) can be traced to blackface minstrelsy. - The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS
Morrison closed out the conference with a lecture on the foundations and contemporary legacies of blackface minstrelsy. Live-streamed and received with a standing ovation, the event was a powerful closing to a weekend of difficult conversations.
Cinema scholar Nicholas Sammond has argued that Mickey and his feline counterpart Felix took on aspects of blackface minstrelsy in their performance styles and relationships with their "live" animators, and indeed were "coded as simultaneously black and white." Harnessing these already over-determined icons, Pensato locates the aspiration for transformation in animation without tidying up mass culture's calcifying of racialized boundaries, holding each in view.
The success of Uncle Tom's Cabin on stage depended in large part on the success of blackface minstrelsy, already popular in the Northeast before the Civil War, even as the practice was transformed through its employment within melodrama.
Still more problematic is Ritchie and Orr's treatment of blackface minstrelsy, which largely omits the important role that Irish musicians played in establishing it as a principal form of popular entertainment in the nineteenth century (see, for instance, Eric Lott, Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class [New York: Oxford University Press, 1993], 92-98; Dale Cockrell, Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997], 199 n.
Drawing on the work of Eric Lott, Fowler contrasts blackface minstrelsy's "perverse, polarizing formulation of the father figure's acculturating role" with Griffith's assumption of a black identity as he documents it in Black Like Me (1959), arguing that the latter is "both a white racist appropriation of blackness and a productive sharing of racial identities" (112).