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Posted under: News Race & Identity

While Discussing Recent Blackface Controversies, Fox News Host Claims 'Hamilton' Culturally Misappropriates

Fox News host Laura Ingraham missed the mark with this comparison.

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In the wake of multiple blackface controversies in the headlines, Fox News host Laura Ingraham managed to bring the cast of Hamilton into the discussion. 

Ingraham, who infamously told Lakers' player LeBron James to shut up and dribble, made her latest comments on her podcast while defending The View's Joy Behar. A photo from the 1970s depicted the comedian and co-host in darkened face makeup and an afro. However, to Ingraham, Behar is no different than the cast of the hit musical Hamilton.  

“Is that not culturally appropriating the other race?” Ingraham asked on PodcastOne’s The Laura Ingraham Show Podcast. “If it’s just about cultural appropriation, does it only go one way? That’s interesting, I didn’t think about that Hamilton thing until just now, I love Hamilton. See, I think it’s fine, I think it’s all cool. Switch it up.”

Anyone familiar with the Lin-Manuel Miranda-produced musical knows it features a diverse cast of Black and brown actors portraying white historical figures. For instance, Black actors Leslie Odom Jr. and Christopher Jackson are Aaron Burr and George Washington.  

The 55-year-old news personality continued claiming “now we can’t even celebrate someone in costume.” Even though, no one in the cast of Hamilton was dressed in white makeup to look white. A co-host, identified by HuffPost as conservative author Raymond Arroyo, brought up actor Laurence Olivier's 1965 film Othello where he wore blackface. 

Both hosts missed the historical context of blackface. In the past, it was used to mock and berate Black people in minstrel shows and films. White actors wore ridiculous makeup to portray Black people as sullen, comical and subhuman. 

“They wouldn’t be able to do that today,” Ingraham responded. “They would say you would have to have an African American doing it. But what about when they did Hamilton, and they made white people Black people?”

Over the past two weeks, Virginia's highest officials have had to deal with blackface controversies. The state's attorney general, Mike Herring, is the latest official to admit to wearing blackface in college. Gov. Ralph Northam was hit with calls to resign when his college yearbook page featured a photo depicting a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and another in blackface.

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