Canada PM Justin Trudeau can’t recall how many times he wore ‘blackface’

A new video of him wearing 'blackface' was found.

Syahindah Ishak | September 20, 2019 @ 12:34 pm


On Sep. 19, a video emerged showing Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in dark make-up — again.

This is currently the third instance the Canadian PM has been seen in dark make-up.

Video of Trudeau in ‘blackface’

In the video, which was obtained by Global News, Trudeau was wearing a white t-shirt and ripped jeans, while his face and limbs are fully covered in dark make-up.

He is seen raising his hands in the air while laughing, sticking his tongue out and making funny faces.

According to his Liberal Party, the video was shot in the early 1990s.

Trudeau would have been in his late teens or early 20s at the time.

Trudeau responded to the controversy on Sep. 19 at Winnipeg and said that he cannot remember how often he wore ‘blackface’ when he was younger.

He said:

“The recent pictures that came out, I had not remembered. And I think the question is, ‘How can you not remember that?’ The fact is, I didn’t understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination every single day. I’ve always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege, but I now need to acknowledge that that comes with a massive blindspot.”

Dressed up in Aladdin costume

On Sep. 18, Trudeau apologised after a photo was found of him wearing “brownface” make-up at an “Arabian nights”-themed party in a private Vancouver school where he taught 18 years ago.

The 2001 yearbook photo, which was obtained by Time Magazine, showed Trudeau, then 29, dressed up in an Aladdin costume, with dark make-up on his face and hands.

Canada PM Justin Trudeau apologises for dressing up in ‘brownface’ as Aladdin for 2001 party

“Blackface” for school talent show

While responding to reporters on Wednesday, Trudeau admitted that he had made the same mistake before.

When he was in high school, he put on dark make-up for a talent show and sang Day-O (Banana Boat Song), a Jamaican folk song performed by African-American singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte.

The photo was found and went viral on Twitter later that day:

How will this affect Trudeau?

The scandals are a major blow for the Trudeau because his branding has always been about tolerance, inclusivity and diversity.

In 2015, when his Cabinet was sworn in, it was championed for being diverse, with half of the appointments being women, three were Sikhs and two members were from indigenous communities.

The photos and video also appeared one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau leading the Liberal Party in a tight contest against Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservatives.

There is no doubt that the images and video will make it more difficult for Trudeau’s bid for re-election.

On Sep. 18, Scheer slammed Trudeau as unfit to govern the country.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation also reported that Trudeau has since come under fire from several quarters.

On the other hand, Kevin Bosch, former deputy director of the Liberal Research Bureau, told the BBC that the controversies will knock the Liberal campaign off track for a few days but he doesn’t think it’ll be fatal for Trudeau.

He said that Trudeau has built up enough goodwill over the last four years as a vocal supporter of a multicultural Canada.

Canadians the BBC spoke to on the streets of Toronto and Ottawa on Sep. 19 were mostly unmoved by the news.

Top photos via Global News, Twitter and Time.

About Syahindah Ishak

Syahindah has an intense fear of heights so she's thankful she's short.

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