The video clip went viral on May 25 and the backlash started pouring in. Many people went on to say that he should quit the show.
Jimmy Fallon wore blackface and impersonated a fellow cast member, Chris Rock. He is an African American and Jimmy portrayed him sharing humor about crack cocaine. His blackface skit soon flooded in with backlash and Twitter was trending with #JimmyFallonIsOverParty.
With this, Fallon apologized following the backlash in a cellphone video. He told his followers that portraying Rock with blackface was a “terrible decision”.
The “Saturday Night Live” alum then revealed that he was told not to speak about the incident that took place nearly 20 years ago, but wanted to clear the air.
He tweeted that he made a terrible decision to impersonate his colleague Chris Rock while making blackface. He said he was sorry for making an offensive move which is pretty evident now.
On another side of the story, Rock, who stars in the upcoming fourth season of FX’s “Fargo” told The New York Times that Fallon is his friend and didn’t mean harm in the skit.
“I’m friends with Jimmy,” Rock said in the Times story. “Jimmy’s a great guy. And he didn’t mean anything. A lot of people want to say intention doesn’t matter, but it does. And I don’t think Jimmy Fallon intended to hurt me. And he didn’t.”
Blackface can be traced back to minstrel shows in the mid-to-late 19th Century where white actors would paint their faces black and their lips red to portray a Black character, oftentimes as a caricature of reality.
They had a dehumanizing quality.
These types of shows and depictions of black people took hold with characters like the Mammy, Uncle Tom, and Jezebel that would become key characters in visual art where Black people had a role.
For Black people, it was hurtful. For Black representation in film, it was harmful and had a lasting impact that can still be seen today with how Black characters are written in some art forms.
The controversy drew a lot of attention from social people and people started pointing out other comedians like Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel. They have also performed skits with blackface and are now being called out.
NBC fired news anchor Megyn Kelly in 2018 when she made a controversial comment to defend the use of blackface. Recently, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the Canadian prime minister both resisted calls to resign for wearing blackface in the past.
Now people want Jimmy Fallon to face the music.
Watch the video report below for more details: