Ralph Northam Continues Digging Self Into Michael Jackson Shaped Hole
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has not yet resigned. In fact, he keeps trying to figure out a way to avoid having to resign. A thing that everyone, collectively, wants him to do.
In a press conference, the soon-to-be-former Governor of Virginia is claiming, contrary to his statements yesterday, that he was not even in the photo that appeared on his page of his medical school yearbook. He says he knows this for a fact, because he clearly remembers the time he actually did do blackface, when he was dressing up as Michael Jackson for a talent show. He won the contest, he says, because he was so very good at moonwalking.
That same year, I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume. I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that. It is because my memory of that episode is so vivid that I truly do not believe I am in the picture in my yearbook.
He then proceeded to explain the difficulties of putting shoe polish on one's face.
I dressed up in a -- what's his name, the singer -- Michael Jackson, excuse me, that's why I have Pam with me. I had the shoes, I had a glove and I just used a little bit of shoe polish to put on my cheeks. And the reason I used a very little bit is because, I don't know if anybody has ever tried that, you cannot get shoe polish off. But it was a dance contest. I had always liked Michael Jackson. I actually won the contest because I had learned to do the moonwalk.
As a matter of fact, no, I have never gotten shoe polish on my face, nor would it be something I would try to do, on purpose. However! It iw curious that someone who claims to not know the context of putting on blackface would choose to go with -- of all things -- shoe polish. How would someone who didn't know what blackface is consider shoe polish as an option, rather than a darker foundation or some kind of face paint? Shoe polish is not a common thing to put on one's face! Especially considering that 1984 Michael Jackson was hardly that dark. If he were going for 1984 Michael Jackson authenticity, he also could have just set his hair on fire. Clearly, he did not go with that option.
Not to mention -- Corey Feldman managed to dress up as and dance like Michael Jackson for YEARS, and if Corey Feldman could manage to figure that out, one would think that someone going to school to become a doctor would be able to as well.
Corey Feldman dances "Dream a Little Dream" www.youtube.com
Now, I was but a wee toddler in 1984. But lots of other people -- people who are alive today, even! -- were full on adults in 1984, and I am sure that they could tell you that in 1984, people knew blackface was bad. At the very least, context clues, such as the fact that Neil Diamond did not appear in the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer in Al Jolson-style blackface, could have lead them to that conclusion. I do not know at what age I started to watch Babes in Arms and turned it off in horror at the sight of my beloved Judy Garland in blackface, but it would have been in the 80s. I would have been a child. A child with more sense than an adult man in medical school.
During the press conference, a reporter asked him if he could still moonwalk, but his wife -- who was probably dying of embarrassment already -- was like "Oh no, that is inappropriate, let's not." So he didn't. If he would have moonwalked across the stage without her assistance, we may never know. But judging by his reaction... he might have.
Here's the whole thing, should you actually want to put yourselves through watching it.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says it wasn't him #BREAKING Press Conference www.youtube.com
And now, friends, I leave you to your open thread! Discuss among yourselves!
Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse