Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon". By the middle of the century, blackface minstrel shows had become a distinctive American artform, translating formal works such as opera into popular terms for a general audience. Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right. In the United States, blackface had largely fallen out of favor by the turn of the 21st century, and is now generally considered highly offensive and disrespectful, though the practice continues in other countries.
Caution: Some of the images in this video are disturbing. Blackface has a long, painful, and racist history in the U.S. It became popular in the mid-1800's mistrel shows when white performers darkened.. CBS News - Published