Blackface performances by white people on a popular Polish TV talent show have caused uproar on social media.
On Sept. 9, Polish star Kuba Szmajkowski won episode two of the current season of “Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo,” the Polish version of “Your Face Sounds Familiar,” for performing Lamar’s track “Humble” from Grammy-winning album “Damn” (2017) in Blackface. During his performance he also used the N-word. On the same episode, actor Pola Gonciarz darkened her skin and performed Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy.”
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The two Blackface performances have stirred outrage on social media. One of the comments on Szmajkowski’s performance was: “Oh no Kuba, this isn’t okay. Producers of this show, what were you thinking? Kuba is an amazing talent who could have had a massive career internationally. But now this performance is out there.”
The Polish version of “Your Face Sounds Familiar” is produced by Banijay’s Endemol Shine. “Banijay condemns Endemol Shine Poland’s local execution of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar,’ which contradicts our group’s global values,” a Banijay spokesperson told Variety. “A subsequent internal investigation is underway and the appropriate measures will be taken.”
Other social media comments on Szmajkowski ranged from “Still Blackface? Haven’t you learned yet?!” to “Lol what kind of racism is this?” to “Bro did Blackface while saying the n word.”
Gonciarz has been equally slammed with one commenter saying, “This is so incredibly misguided and ignorant. Blackface shouldn’t be done ever, anywhere. We should not put people’s skin color on like costumes” to “Shocking that this kind of racism was allowed on TV in 2023.”
This is not the first time the program has had performers using Blackface. In the past Kasia Skrzynecka has portrayed Tina Turner, Agnieszka Włodarczyk Michael Jackson, Mariusz Totoszko Stevie Wonder, and Natalia Szroeder Whitney Houston.
In 2021, when a white performer, Tomasz Ciachorowski, portrayed Kanye West in Blackface, the program had issed a statement saying: “The intention of each star performing on the show, as well as of the whole production team, is to recreate the original performance in the most precise manner, while honoring the original artist.”
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