As I am sure many of you have heard and read by now, on Friday night at the famous, celebrated Slipper Room in New York, sideshow performer Rush Aaron Hicks, apparently without any pre-notification or discussion, took to the stage in blackface. His actions have been rightly condemned, but it was Rush Aaron Hicks’ explanation of this decision on social media which set off a firestorm of passionate discussion, angry reaction and disbelief throughout the online community. Rush Aaron Hicks also released a video with further comment, but this has been deleted after considerable backlash.
A more in-depth response to the incident and discussion of the broader issues surrounding it will run tomorrow, but for now, here is a statement from the owner of the Slipper Room, James Habacker, who has been asked to explain his stance on the issue:
“The Slipper Room has always been a place that has welcomed diversity. Over the years our stage has been graced by people of every ethnicity, sexual orientation, body type, and proclivity. We do not now, nor will we ever, have a policy of telling artists what they can and can’t do in their acts. Rush Aaron Hicks made a poor choice in doing Blackface. His unfortunate comments after the fact have only served to make things worse for him. We had a few bookings with him for this spring, which we have cancelled to give him time to reflect on his actions and their consequences.”
Stay tuned for more reaction to this incident.
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.