• Wed, Oct 30 - 2:58 pm ET

The First Orange Is The New Black Cast Member Just Responded To Julianne Hough

Orange Is The New Black Laverne CoxI think everyone is probably really anxious to hear what Orange Is The New Black actress Uzo Aduba has to say about Julianne Hough donning blackface to portray her character ‘Crazy Eyes’ for Halloween this year, but she has yet to speak out. And frankly, I think that’s totally fine, given that she didn’t ask Julianne to go as her. Julianne made the racially insensitive decision to darken her skin and go out into the world like it wans’t a big deal, so she should have to deal with those social consequences, not Uzo. This whole thing has nothing to do with her if you really think about it.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not just as curious as you are to see what she thinks about this whole mess. So until then, I’m just gonna have to satisfy myself with the responses from other OITNB cast members, like this one from Laverne Cox, who plays Sophia Burset on the show. She was asked by Entertainment Weekly what she thought of Julianne’s costume, and here’s what she had to say:

“I think it’s great she likes our show. Crazy Eyes is my favorite character besides mine, too. But it’s really interesting that she doesn’t seem to understand. It’s historically tricky in this country to re-create blackface. I’m not opposed to someone having their form of expression, but she seemed to be completely unaware of the historical implications going in, and I think that’s problematic. If you want to make a choice like that, I think it’s important to understand the historical context you are walking into.”

Yup. Yup yup yup. I love that response, because it’s straightforward and directly to the point without adding any extra drama. We don’t know if Laverne was personally offended, because that doesn’t matter. We do know that what Julianne did was insensitive, and showed an ignorance to the issue, and that’s all. There doesn’t need to be a feud between her and the show or an official statement made or anything. This was Julianne’s choice, and the consequences are hers alone to deal with. Or they would be, if people didn’t keep spewing racist garbage in response and fueling the fires.

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  • Scarlettmer

    Blackface is not ok, but linking to an article that refers to female celebrities who are not skinny “Chunky Ham Hocks: 10 Female Celebs With Cankles” is ok? Interesting. Next time you are crying about how women do not have equality, equal pay, bodily autonomy, etc., perhaps engage in some self-reflection.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Where did I link to that??

    • Jessieface

      It occasionally shows up in the ‘what we’re reading’ and ‘recommended’ article boxes below the crushable article and on top of the comments. Do you guys have any control over that?

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Oh bummer. I don’t personally have control over that, but I will ask around and see if that needs to be on the site.

    • Scarlettmer

      Sorry – I was hasty in my comment, the “you” was directed generally at the website. You specifically did not link to that. This website, however does.

  • Jessieface

    I love how level headed and real this response was. She Acknowledges what the true problem here is, ignorance – without taking shots or digs. Straight forward and eloquent. EDUCATION PEOPLE. PICK UP A BOOK.

  • Anna

    I just don’t get it. In Belgium and the Netherlands, each year on the 6th of December we celebrate ‘Sinterklaas’. The figure of Sitnerklaas is practically the same as Santaclaus. Instead of being accompanied by reindeer however, sinterklaas is accompanied by ‘zwarte pieten’, which literally translates to ‘black pete’. Because there simply aren’t that many black people here, white people paint their faces black, their lips red and serve as sinterklaas’ servants, carrying the bag with toys, throwing candy etc. I have yet to meet the black person being offended by that.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I encountered an entire comedy club of them the other night in New York City. And Google it! A lot of people are offended by Zwarte Pieten. I’m half Dutch, so I grew up being aware of those traditions, but once you reach adulthood you have to reevaluate some things.

    • …her?

      In those countries, blackface doesn’t have the same connotations as it does here. Part of the issue discussed is in an American History context.