Virginia Politician Apologizes Over Blackface Costume

Warsaw council member Faron Hamblin says his Eddie Murphy costume was a tribute, not an insult
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 1, 2021 8:33 AM CDT
Virginia Politician Apologizes Over Blackface Costume
The Virginia state Capitol in Richmond. A local state lawmaker deleted an image of his blackface Halloween costume.   (Getty/zrfphoto)

Halloween has come and gone, but not without another entry in the annals of I'm-sorry-about-my-blackface costume. In this case, the controversy centers around a local Virginia politician. Faron Hamblin, a white member of the town council in Warsaw, posted an image of himself on Facebook dressed as Randy Watson, a Black character played by Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, reports WWBT. However, Hamblin deleted the image amid criticism, and Insider reports that he apologized in a letter to the Richmond County NAACP. “In both my personal and professional life, I have always been a friend and ally to the black community and will use this as a learning opportunity to move forward a better and more knowledgeable person,” reads the letter.

Hamblin originally explained his choice of costume—WWBT has a screen shot of the get-up—on Facebook. “Many saw it degrading, which I did not," he wrote in the post, which was later deleted, per the Washington Post. "I did it to show my love for the character and the movie. But since I’m white it’s considered by some as offensive to dress as a black person. … I think that’s ridiculous! Especially when it’s done to be a tribute to the character.” Hamblin is an amateur musician, and the fictional Randy Watson plays in the band Sexual Chocolate. However, “I made a post that hurt a lot of folks and that was not my intention," he wrote. (Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam got into a blackface controversy over an old yearbook photo.)

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