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Whiting Up
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Whiting Up: Whiteface Minstrels and Stage Europeans in African American Performance

Marvin McAllister


In the early 1890s, black performer Bob Cole turned blackface minstrelsy on its head with his nationally recognized whiteface creation, a character he called Willie Wayside. Just over a century later, hiphop star Busta Rhymes performed a whiteface supercop in his hit music video “Dangerous.” This sweeping work explores the enduring tradition of “whiting up,” in which African American actors, comics, musicians, and even everyday people have studied and assumed white racial identities. Not to be confused with racial “passing” or derogatory notions of “acting white,” whiting up is a deliberate pe ... More

Keywords: black performer, Bob Cole, blackface minstrelsy, whiteface, Willie Wayside, Busta Rhymes, African American actors, comics, musicians, hiphop

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780807835081
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807869062_mcallister


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Marvin McAllister, author