Blackface Controversy Resurfaces Following Nicki Minaj and Kanye West Costumes This Halloween

Nicki Minaj BET Awards - H 2015
AP Images

Nicki Minaj BET Awards - H 2015

Condemnation and dismay expressed after images of an Alabama teacher dressed as Kanye and and a Florida student dressed as Minaj — both in blackface — surfaced on social media.

It's Halloween, the time of year when kids dress up as superheroes and adults often dress up as the most of-the-moment pop icons. And this year that includes a whole lot of Kanye and Nicki Minaj — and continued controversy over the unfortunate American tradition of blackface.

On Tuesday, Heath Morrow, an elementary school teacher in Alabama, drew national criticism when his wife, Shannan Morrow, posted a picture on Instagram of herself and her husband dressed up as Kim and Kanye. Heath Morrow was wearing blackface and holding a sign that said "Kanye for Prez 2020."

In a statement to The Daily News, Shannon Morrow defended their choice of costume, saying "I didn't know dressing up as a celebrity couple would cause so much controversy. There was no malicious intent in this costume. It's for HALLOWEEN, the one time a year it is okay." She then went on to invoke the now-familiar defense that "Some of my husband's best friends are black," adding "there was no racial intent whatsoever."

In Florida, a student recently posted to Twitter (and then deleted amidst the subsequent uproar) an image of herself in blackface, dressed as Nicki Minaj. To which Twitter user @febrezenator tweeted with an accompanying image, " Nicki ain't even darkskin. This wasn't necessary. RT @emmajohns129: Nicki Minaj and Drake in the cut #DynamicDuo

As Halloween week continues, the Twittersphere is lit up with condemnation of the costuming choice that just happens to invoke the ugliest parts of American history and in its perpetuation, a pervasive ignorance of the origins of the tradition. The overwhelming consensus on blackface this Halloween and every other day of the year is clear: Don't do it.