Ignorance is not bliss. The cover of last week's Nightspots featured a gay man in white makeup promoting his local show Geisha and Gaysha. While there have been local productions featuring the Geisha in the past, we were not aware of the controversy surrounding white performers dressing up in "yellowface," which has been seen as similar to "blackface."
Now that we have been made aware by some thoughtful readers, we apologize for the promotion of it on the cover. While the performer was allowed to submit an essay ( follow the link below ) , it does not treat seriously the comparisons of this to "blackface," a horribly racist tradition in our country. There has been a white gay male performer touring the country in recent years, wearing blackface and garnering much protest, including from our publications. By researching this and in letters from readers, we are aware that this "yellowface" ( in the form of white Geisha makeup ) is a form of "blackface."
Just because we are GLBT, does not mean we can't do racist or racially insensitive things. Now that the information has been made available that this form of performance is seen as derogatory and hurtful, we apologize for continuing the stereotypes by placing the photo on our cover. We are not for censorship, but we are for education. We hope the performer uses this opportunity for a teaching moment, because we at Nightspots certainly have.
Thank you to our readers.