Miami Parody Featuring Actress In Blackface Draws Praise From Cuban Audience: ‘It’s Normal’ | African-American News and Black History

blackface, Little Havana Miami, Marisol Correa, Marta Velasco, National, Negrito Cubano, News, Race, Tres Viudas en un Crucero -

Miami Parody Featuring Actress In Blackface Draws Praise From Cuban Audience: ‘It’s Normal’

blackface, Little Havana Miami, Marisol Correa, Marta Velasco, National, Negrito Cubano, News, Race, Tres Viudas en un Crucero -

Miami Parody Featuring Actress In Blackface Draws Praise From Cuban Audience: ‘It’s Normal’

A theatrical parody that would spark outrage in most other U.S. cities has drawn praise and applause from audiences in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood.

Popular Spanish language play “Tres Viudas en un Crucero,” (“Three Windows on a Cruise”) has been entertaining audiences for months, but it’s one character in particular who steals the show night after night — because she’s in blackface.

“It’s been a hit and no one has complained … on the contrary, she is one of the favorites,” said Marisol Correa, who oversees the theater where the play is showing. “The character is typical of the Cuban theater, the ‘negrito cubano,’ but the person is never discriminated.”

According to the Miami Herald, the comedic play features fair-skinned Cuban actress Marta Velasco covered in dark makeup with huge red lips, heavily drawn-in eyebrows and an afro wig. The show tells the story of three women sharing a condo in Hialeah who save up to go on a cruise together. They then exchange stories upon their return, the local paper reported.

A trailer for the play posted to YouTube shows Velasco pounding her chest with her legs spread wide while chanting, “Bailar, tomar y gozar como tres gorilas” (to dance, drink and have fun like three gorillas).

So far, the show has received rave reviews and plays to sold-out audiences nearly every week.

The audience “loves it,” Correa said.

While blackface is considered racially offensive in most parts of the U.S., play director Pedro Roman explained that caricatures of Afro-Latinos are commonplace in Latin American plays and TV shows. Roman shrugged at the idea that Velasco’s character might be seen as racist and noted that Black and mulatto characters are a part of the Cuban tradition.

“There is nothing discriminatory about it,” he said of the character, which he described as the “funny, vivacious and the loudest one.” “It was just created to make people laugh and have a good time.”

“Now people protest for everything,” he told the Miami Herald. “I believe people should start worrying about more important things.”

Correa expressed similar views, arguing that characters like the one Velasco played are “normal” and are a testament to actors’ “excellent skills.”

“To say that a light-skinned actress painting herself [black] is discriminatory is like saying that an actor cannot play the Cat from [Cat in the Hat] because he is not a cat,” she told the newspaper.

When asked why they just didn’t hire a Black actress to play the role, Correa said they cast Valesco because she has played similar characters in the past. Roman also claimed no dark-skinned actresses showed up to their casting call.

Local science teacher Sarah Prieto, 53, was one of few playgoers who was outraged by the blackface. Prieto, who’s Cuban American, said she was told she was overreacting when she voiced her concerns.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I didn’t understand why she needed to be black. What’s the point?”


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