Megyn Kelly apologized on-air Wednesday after she supported White people donning blackface during a conversation about Halloween costumes on her show a day prior.
The Megyn Kelly Today host opened up the show saying, “I want to begin with two words: I’m sorry.”
She continued, “You may have heard yesterday that we had a discussion here. … I defended the idea, saying that as long as it was respectable and part of the Halloween costume, it seemed OK. Well, I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
On Tuesday, Kelly told an all-White panel, “When I was a kid, that was OK, so long as you were dressing up as a character,” while questioning why darkening or lightening one’s skin was racist.
According to the National Museum of African-American History & Culture, wearing Blackface started in the 19th century by White theater performers “to codify Whiteness across class and geopolitical lines.” Exaggerating the look, culture and features of African-Americans helped the spread of racial stereotypes.
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
The former Fox News host, who was born in 1970, apologized to the NBC staff on Tuesday. However, her Today Show colleagues Al Roker and Craig Melvin did not excuse her for the ignorant comment.
“The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” Roker said on Wednesday morning. “This is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race. It wasn’t right. I’m old enough to have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy, where you had White people in blackface playing two Black characters, just magnifying the worst stereotypes about Black men—and that’s what the problem is. That’s what the issue is.”
Melvin agreed with Roker saying, “In addition to her being a colleague, she’s a friend. She said something stupid. She said something indefensible. A lot of folks don’t realize that Jim Crow is shorthand for the racist laws that have existed in this country for much of the last century, especially in the deep south; they termed Jim Crow from a minstrel show in the 1830s. I guess it was an opportunity for us to learn a little bit more about blackface—but I think a lot of people knew blackface.”
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.