Friday, February 26, 2010

Fever Ray and Blackface

Stranger Than Kindness from Fever Ray on Vimeo.

Okay, so where does avant garde expression end and racism begin?
My attempt to ignore school work was abruptly interrupted by small children doing blackface in Fever Ray's "Stranger than Kindness" music video.
Apparently Fever Ray's Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson thinks its artistic to have young children wear Blackface! This post-racism-Obama-emancipated-culture seem to believe wearing blackface is no longer offensive and problematic, but instead an artistic expression that can be 'creepy' and 'cool'.

Most of Andersson's solo project has embodied the dark-weird-tribal-pop style, she likes to call black-metal-folk. (how very hipster of her to mash all those unrelated genres together) Up until now i have been a huge admirer of her work, but this video's pointless-laser-happy-racism is just annoying and super problematic! I've had enough of this shit! This apathy and post-racist culture of eerily beautiful hipsters works to perpetuate a culture of racist blackface ignorance. Seriously people, school yourself and decolonize your minds!


  1. Are they wearing Blackface, or are their faces painted black?

  2. Painting their faces Black makes a statement, whether it was intentional or not. As far as I can tell, Fever Ray are all White and this song has nothing to do with race, yet as racial signifiers are being used, their film clip is engaging in a dialogue about race.

    And we should talk about it.

    What are Fever Ray tring to say- that Blackface(s) and cleary racialised headresses are so "exotic" and eerily beautiful that they are the perfect accompaniment for their music? Appropriating race for aesthetic appeal is extremely problematic.

    The intention is irrelevant. Fever Ray should have known better and should stop perpetuating racist representations through music. The notion of Blackface as a novelty that white kids can don errases the structures of oppression and racism that strangle our society.

    Thanks for sharing. x

  3. Take a deep breath and relax.. I think you've got a few things wrong.

    Those children are missing a few distinct markers of blackface. There's no emphasis on the lips, Their hair is not overly unkempt, and they're not over-emphasizing their actions.

    In fact, "Many fall or autumn North European folk black face customs are employed ritualistically to appease the forces of the oncoming winter, utilizing characters with blackened faces, or black masks." ( Karin Dreijer Andersson happens to be from Sweden, a Northern European country.

    While art can be controversial and even offensive, I really don't believe this particular video is trying to do so via theatrical blackface.