Toulouse Blackface Walkout: European Performers Respond

Last week, eight performers walked out of the Toulouse Burlesque Festival in protest at the inclusion of a burlesque act involving blackface. Click here for full details. In response to the incident, a collective of European burlesque performers, concerned about suggestions that racist and culturally appropriative acts are a common and accepted occurrence in the European burlesque scene, have sent the following statement, presented in English and French:

 

LouLou Champagne ©Lorea Marchand
LouLou Champagne sent a statement from a collective of European performers in response to the Toulouse Burlesque Festival blackface incident and resulting walkout by eight performers. ©Lorea Marchand

 

In the aftermath of the Toulouse Burlesque Festival, the burlesque community from France, Belgium and Switzerland publicly and collectively reaffirms its will to fight the use of blackface and racist cultural appropriation in our industry.

The use of blackface is patently offensive and reinforces historically racist stereotypes. We condemn racism and hate in any shape and form, and we are working every day to create and sustain a creative environment that values dialogue, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Unbridled racism has been at the heart of our concerns for the past years, and this dreadful and painful incident is yet another reminder of how attentive we all should be. More than ever, we believe in individual and collective accountability for both artists and producers.

By speaking out against racist acts and taking a stand, artists can erode prejudices and play a unique role in confronting oppression and providing powerful inspiration to celebrate human difference.

We commend the eight artists who decided to withdraw from the festival and would like to renew our full support to their action .

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Suite aux événements du festival burlesque de Toulouse, la communauté burlesque franco-belge-suisse réaffirme publiquement et collectivement sa volonté de s’élever contre l’utilisation du blackface (acte de se grimer en noir) et l’appropriation culturelle raciste.

Le blackface est un acte clairement insultant et contribue à renforcer les stéréotypes racistes véhiculés par l’histoire. Nous condamnons fermement le racisme et la haine sous toutes leurs formes, et nous nous efforçons au quotidien de créer et pérenniser un environnement créatif reposant sur le dialogue, la diversité, l’équité et l’inclusion.

Ce racisme décomplexé est au coeur de nos préoccupations depuis ces dernières années et ce douloureux et effroyable incident nous rappelle une fois de plus combien la vigilance est de mise. Plus que jamais, nous en appelons à la responsabilité individuelle et collective aussi bien pour les artistes que pour les producteurs.

En dénonçant ces numéros racistes et en prenant position, les artistes luttent contre les préjugés et l’oppression et sont une source d’inspiration puissante pour célébrer la différence.

Nous saluons les 8 artistes qui ont décidé de quitter le festival et nous leur renouvelons notre soutien.

Signed

AMANDINE GORSE
ANA VON ROSSA
ANNA BOGEN
ANTOINETTE BOUDOIR (SECRETES BOUDOIR)
ATHENA TTENTION
BAMBI FRECKLES’S
BABETTE DE LA BUTTE
BAZOOM BURLESQUE
BETTY BLUE  (REIMS BURLESQUE FESTIVAL)
BISOU BELETTE (BELETTE ACADÉMIE)
BONNIE BEE
BRIAN SCOTT BAGLEY
CHAMPAGNE MADEMOISELLE
CHARLY BROUTILLE (BROUTILLE & COMPAGNIE)
CHARLY VOODOO
CHERRY LYLY DARLING (TASSEL TEASE COMPANY)
COCO DAS VEGAS (PIN UP D’ALSACE)
COCO PATCHOULI
COLETTE COLLERETTE
CYD SAILOR
DAISY DEPARYS (WUNDERKABARETT)
DONNA COEURSLEONE
DOTTY MAC LANE
ELENA ODESSA RAY
EVA LA VAMP
EVA VALENTINA (BURLESQUE MOULIN)
FROUFROU D’ABSINTHE
GALLIANE MURMURES[/col1
GEORGE BANGABLE
GINGER FROMVENUS
GLORIA ZSA ZSA ZSU (FORBIDDEN NEW BURLESQUE)
HELL’N LITTLEBAT
INGA LA DOUCE
IVY HIPSYLON
JEANNE DARK
JULIE CRÈVE-COEUR
KAT’ DE VELOURS
KIKI BÉGUIN
KIRBY MARZELLE
LA MACHINE
LADY DADA
LADY FLO
LEMM ROLLICKING
LES DEMOISELLES DU K-BARRÉ
LILI CHANTILLY
LILI MIREZMOI  (SASSY CABARET)
LILLY BULLE (GENEVA BURLESQUE FESTIVAL)
LILY BUTTERFLY
LIVIA BELLUGIO
LOLA DE SAINT-GERMAIN
LOLA SAIGON
LOLA VON-ROCK
LOLO CHANTILLY
LOLLY WISH
LOLO CAREY
LOUISE DE VILLE (PRETTY PROPAGANDA)
LOUISON FRISSON
LOUIZA VENTURA
LOULOU CHAMPAGNE
LUNA MOKA
MADEMOISELLE FAUVE
MAMZ’ELLE PLUMTI
MARA DE NUDÉE
MARIE TERENZIANI
MARION BAUDESSON
MARQUIS DE TIARELL
MATHILDE DUPUIS
MAUD’AMOUR
MINA OÜSHKHA
MINNIE VALENTINE
MISS ANNE THROPY (TEASE N’JAZZ)
MISS BOTERO
MISS GLITTER PAINKILLER (LA GLITTER FEVER)
MISS GOURMANDISE OF BURLESQUE
MISS SHOW SHOW CANNELLE (BORDEAUX BURLESQUE FESTIVAL)
MORTIMER MOONBENDER
PARIS LAHAINE
PETULA GOLDFEVER
ROSABELLE SELAVY
RUBY SCHATZI
SADIK SADIE
SATINE QUINZEL
SATTYNA TSÉ TSÉ
SAYURI GEI (BRUXELLES BURLESQUE FESTIVAL)
SOA DE MUSE
SUCRE D’ORGE
THE FLYING WILLY
VALENTINA DEL PEARLS (LE BURLESQUE KLUB)
VINCE VAN VEGAS
VIVIANNE DELLAMORE
WANDA DE LULLABIES
WINNIE PELTEEZ

21st Century Burlesque Magazine
21st Century Burlesque Magazine

Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.

10 Comments
  1. Hi Everyone,
    I do Agree, black face is wrong and there is nothing more to say about it. Racism has a very direct link here that is undeniable. It is a no go in anyway of form. The world and it’s living creatures is such an amazing place and having the privilege to travel discovering different way of life and cultures is such a treasure that is truly priceless…
    I am curious about one thing though, so please enlighten me…
    1- Belly dancing should be performed only by Arabic people? yes/no ?
    2- Marie Antoinette should only be performed by white females from french or Austrian origin?
    3- Miss Butterfly should only be interpreted by a Japanese Soprano? OR if another origin woman then she cannot wear traditional japanese garb for the show?
    4- If I am a man, I can’t pretend to be a woman and vice versa?
    5- An African performer cannot be a Texas cowboy?
    Please know that I am talking in the framework of a show, and I am thinking that it would all be performed in an artful, creative, respectful storytelling that would not denigrate the culture during the say act.\
    So what we can and cannot do? What is the rule?
    My question is genuine as I would love to hear what the community think. I come for a purely neutral ground.
    hope to hear from you.
    *** My boyfriend is Indian, I have worn the saree and other traditional garb for fonctions. Him and his family and friends loves it when I honor their culture (which I adore). They share that they were really happy that I loved it and want to be part of it.
    Please let me know your thoughts,
    thank you,
    Scarlett

  2. Dear anonymous,

    You are pathetic and you have a lot of time to lose tracking down every cultural appropriation that could be realized by french strippers. You must be so bored in your life, it’s sad.
    Do you know that our open letter concerns only the very specific subject of blackface and not cultural appropriation which is another debate, equally important to us, but based on subtleties of interpretation that don’t exist in a blackface?
    So why pointing at the artists apart from making you ridiculous, especially when you do not know their origins? Like Winnie, I’m also of Asian origin.
    So before you open your mouth and make you ridiculous, really inform yourself about the cultural appropriation or at least the performeuses that you give on !

  3. Anonymous you can shut the hell up since I am half asian.

    Not sincerely yours,

    Winnie Pelteez

  4. Coucou Anonymous je vais te le dire avec autant de lacheté que toi : on a tous pris nos couilles à deux mains et mis nos noms ici , pas comme toi apparemment qui nous connait si bien , et qui connait bien nos numéros pour aller en chercher des photos . Je te propose deja de te devoiler et ensuite d’avoir une discussion sans accusation gratuite . Merci

  5. Can we talk about all of the people who signed this that have done red face and yellow face?! Where is the accountability for that? All of these people are NOT allies and should not be presented as such. It is a big “fuck you” to all of the other POC they are offending.

    Anna Bogen posing with red face and appropriated Mexican costume
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1185099131502713&set=pb.100000079126830.-2207520000.1489753480.&type=3&theater

    Charly Broutille in red face
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10209419669943150&set=a.1523075551298.2069297.1066862145&type=3&theater

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208395124170146&set=t.706401098&type=3&theater

    Cherry Lyly Darling in an offensive Mexican costume
    https://www.facebook.com/517251088342955/photos/t.100000407233304/1095652433836148/?type=3&theater

    Daisy Deparys in appropriating Mexican culture
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1711981752453905&set=t.1018296350&type=3&theater

    Galliane Murmures in yellow face
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153277074050159&set=pb.765555158.-2207520000.1489754482.&type=3&theater

    and that’s just a third of the way into the list

  6. Big respect to the French/Belgian/Swiss burlesque scenes for coming together to promote inclusion and co-operation and condemn racism.

    We can all learn from this show of solidarity and the openness with which these performers are tackling this divisive conflict. This is a good example to all reaches of the burlesque world as we seek to improve our scenes , develop our means of communicating with each other and encourage the values that make this such an important inclusive and generous artform.

    <3 Bravo! <3

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