On December 31, 2011, Saturday Night Live (SNL) Korea featured a skit of the Dreamgirls in which the actresses painted their skin to look African American. This is blackface, regardless of its intentions.
Lorne Michaels, as the executive producer and founder of the flagship SNL it is your job to know what is going on in the other companies that have taken on your namesake to pay homage to what you have spent years building and perfecting. When unfortunate situations like this occur and people take notice, it will not only have a negative impact on the image of SNL Korea but on the SNL brand as a whole. International fans have already started to take a stand against this by tweeting Korean producers, artists, MC’s, and anyone else we can think of in the Korean Entertainment Industry. While this is not the first instance of black face on television in Korea, we are actively working to educate people involved in the industry on the racist history of black face. The only way to accomplish this goal is to bring awareness and make SNL Korea understand that what they are doing is in no way funny and is highly racially insensitive.
In light of Korea’s international success in the field of entertainment and media, there should be some sort of awareness amongst Korean producers that their actions and portrayals are now viewed and judged on an international level. This being said, any materials that are distributed to the public should be done so with the understanding that they may offend and perpetuate stereotypes of other ethnic groups. In the case of blackface, there is no argument that it is offensive and harmful to African Americans. Skits such as this should not be taken lightly, and accepted as a simple “joke”.
As the SNL flagship, we are petitioning you to address this skit, to help us garner an apology, and to take steps to prevent this from happening again.