QLD MP under fire for ‘Yothu Yindi’ blackface photo
ASPIRING Queensland politician Kerri-Anne Dooley has come under fire after taking a photograph with someone wearing blackface.
The Liberal National Party candidate, who is currently running for the seat of Redcliffe, an electorate north of Brisbane, was at a backyard “Aussie icons” themed party when she posed with a person wearing blackface.
The unidentified male was dressed up as Mandawuy Yunupingu, the late singer from Yothu Yindi.
In the smiling photo, Ms Dooley stands next to the male and captioned it “met Yothu Yindi”.
In a statement to news.com.au, Ms Dooley said:
“I attended an Australian themed house warming party where guests went as icons of prominent Australian identities. The party was a great celebration of Australian life and culture.
“One person was a fan of the band Yothu Yindi and lead singer, the late Mandawuy Yunupingu. I posted a photo of us together on my Instagram feed. On reflection it was a mistake to post this photo and unprompted, I deleted it. I apologise for any offence that this may have caused.”
Blackface has been controversial since white actors in the 19th century used it to mock African-American in American theatre shows.
It has been publicly called out numerous times recently by prominent Australians such as basketballer Liz Cambage (who has Nigerian heritage) and indigenous rapper Adam Briggs.
In an interview with ABC’s Hack last year, Briggs called out people that still wear blackface.
“It’s 2016 and in Australia you still have to explain to people why blackface is racist,” he said.
“Every now and then, it’s OK for me to make an example out of some of these racists, or people who harbour these racist views.
“[Blackface] dehumanises, and it creates a mockery of someone’s culture … To them it’s a laugh,” he added.
The photo comes a day after a Nick Xenophon Team candidate was sacked after posing inappropriately with wax figures of Rihanna and Toni Colette.
Rhys Adams, who was the candidate for Best in South Australia, uploaded photos to his Facebook in 2015 which pictured him holding his fist up to a wax model of Rihanna and groping the figurines of Toni Collette and Lleyton Hewitt.
Rapper Chris Brown was charged with assaulting Rihanna the night before the 2009 Grammy Awards and was sentenced to five years’ probation and 1400 hours of community service.
But it wasn’t until the ABC recently approached Mr Xenophon for comment on the pictures — taken at Madame Tussauds Sydney — that Mr Adams was sacked.
“There’s meant to be a process of vetting for social media [and I am] very unimpressed and quite appalled,” Mr Xenophon told the ABC.
“It doesn’t mean he in any way condones domestic violence.
“It was a foolish thing to do … [and] he didn’t do it with any malicious intent, but these are things you cannot joke about it.
“I’ve spoken to Rhys Adams — he will no longer be a candidate.”
Mr Adams was reportedly “embarrassed” by the incident.