Although the world is moving towards being more understanding and accepting of people's differences, it's not anywhere close to where we should be in many areas of life. Black rights is one of those areas where we're severely lacking in all facets. So when footage of Jimmy Fallon dressed in blackface started trending, former fans of the host and his talk show called for his cancellation.
Is Jimmy Fallon canceled?
The hashtag #jimmyfallonisoverparty started trending on Twitter after users called out the Tonight Show host for a Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit that first aired in 2000. In the skit, Jimmy does an impersonation of Chris Rock while wearing full blackface in an effort to appear like the comedian, who was also a past SNL cast member.
Twitter user @chefboyohdear shared a clip of the 2000 video on May 25 saying, "NBC fired Megyn Kelly for mentioning blackface. Jimmy Fallon performed on NBC in blackface.” He also included the hashtag.
The video clip has been viewed close to a million times since it was uploaded, and it started a big discussion on social media. Some asked for The Tonight Show to be canceled, while others were questioning why a 20-year-old clip is trending today.
Actually, Darrell Hammond did black face too if I’m not mistaken. Blame SNL’s makeup department for that one.— shannon (@attilathehoneyb) May 26, 2020
this is unacceptable but it was also AGES ago i mean like, what? 2 or 3 DECADES? while it's important to bring it up because it's something that happened and ISNT AT ALL okay, he shouldn't be cancelled for it. BUT he needs to address it for what it is and apologise— g a b r i e l l e (she/her) (@herputhystinky) May 26, 2020
Another Twitter user mentioned that this same clip gets mentioned year after year, and this isn't the first time it's being brought back up.
Looking at YouTube, we can find a clip of the episode was uploaded to the platform in early February 2019. Around the same time, NBC News cancelled Megyn Kelly Today after the morning host’s defended the use of blackface during Halloween.
Jimmy Fallon responded to the controversy.
Jimmy Fallon issued an apology on May 26 after #jimmyfallonisoverparty started trending on social media. Through his own Twitter account, Jimmy acknowledged his decision 20 years ago.
"In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface," he tweeted. "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."
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.— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 26, 2020
I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.
His apology was received with mixed reviews as well, with some users saying the sorry isn't enough, that he is only saying something because he was caught, and others saying taking accountability is a good first step.
However, reading through the comments, it's very clear that people still don't understand the deep and troubling history behind blackface.
Jimmy Fallon isn't the first to get called out for blackface.
There are several other high-profile people who have similarly been called out for blackface. Previously, Sarah Silverman donned blackface during an episode of The Sarah Silverman Program which aired in 2007. Jimmy Kimmel has been criticized over his portrayal of NBA star Karl Malone, in full blackface, during his The Man Show. And during a segment on The View in 2016, Joy Bahar showed off a photo of herself in blackface and played it off as a Halloween costume.
If you're concerned that Jimmy and The Tonight Show might actually be canceled, we would say that it's rather unlikely to happen over an incident such as this. Especially considering that the incident is 20 years old and Jimmy Kimmel went on to have a long, long career after The Man Show's blackface portrayal (and also just The Man Show in general).