The performers were wearing blackface, minstrel garb, red lipstick, and gold hoop earrings, attire that was supposed to represent “Black Pete,” a Dutch Christmas character.
An old clip from 1997 has resurfaced of the Spice Girls interview where group member Melanie Brown spoke up to address a racially insensitive tradition and fans are praising her for how she handled it. Melanie Brown, whose stage name is Mel B, is the only Black singer in the girl group.
The resurfaced video circulating on TikTok is a snippet from an interview with the popular singing group on “Laat de Leeuw,” a Dutch TV show.
After seeing a group of performers dressed in blackface, Mel B responded, “I don’t like them,” before the people were escorted to the stage.
Spice Girl member, Geri Halliwell, was heard yelling “No!” in the clip as the performers came out wearing blackface, minstrel garb, red lipstick, and gold hoop earrings, attire that was supposed to represent “Zwarte Piet” or “Black Pete,” a Dutch Christmas character.
According to NBC, those in support of Black Pete view him as a harmless holiday character for kids as the day is filled with songs, poems and family time; owing his dark skin to being covered in soot from chimneys. However, people who are not in favor of the Christmas character view it as a promotion of negative racial stereotypes that originate from a 19th century children’s book that describe him as a servant of Saint Nicholas.
According to Huffpost, some people in the Netherlands view the tradition as an excuse to be racist.
In the video, Mel B tells the TV show host that rather than having people paint their face black they should get Black People to do it. De Leeuw argues, “That’s culture, that’s tradition.”
“No, but it’s culture,” de Leeuw says, to which Mel B replies: “Update your culture. You should get proper ones — proper Black people.”
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Source: Black Enterprise