The Black Lives Matter spokesman once blacked up as a minstrel
He said he was ‘going for the dark skinned asian look’
Days after a group of white middle class graduates were arrested for protesting for a Black Lives Matter demo at London’s City Airport, a photo has emerged of the group’s chief spokesman blacking up.
Public face of the group, Adam Elliott-Cooper posted the photo of him covered in mud with the caption that he was pretending he was “in the minstrels” – a widely criticised racist caricature that uses blackface.
Oxford educated Elliott-Cooper, 29, who is mixed-race, has represented the group on Radio 4’s Today programme and Channel 4 News. He is widely considered to be one of public faces of the group.
Yet this picture shows him blacking-up and posing as a racist caricature.
The photo, taken on a holiday to the Caribbean Island of Saint Lucia in 2006, shows Cooper covered in mud from a sulphur spring, copying the ‘jazz hands’ pose of 1920s Jazz musician Al Jolson who was famous for performing as a Minstrel.
The Black Minstrel used to be common practice form of entertainment in the 19th century, where performers would cover themselves in black make-up in order to represent a black person. It helped contribute to the stereotype of black people as lazy and ‘happy-go-lucky’.
The caption of the photograph says: “The natural sulphur at the sulphur springs is supposed 2 be good for your skin. but me and my brother decided we could make better use of it if we pretended we were in the minstrels.” In a comment below, someone asks if he is “pretending to be black” to which he replies that he is “going for the dark skinned asian look”.
Last month, Black Lives Matter UK gained widespread media attention after they blocked a road leading to Heathrow Airport.
Three days ago, nine protestors closed the City Airport runway in London, when they sailed over the docks in a rubber dinghy and locked themselves together on the tarmac. Black Lives Matter UK said the action was in order to “highlight the UK’s environmental impact on the lives of black people locally and globally”.
But the protesters were criticised when it was revealed that all nine of them were white, middle class, and some from elite universities. Among the nine, who were arrested for trespassing was Richard Collett-White, 23, who also studies at Oxford University and was a member of their Croquet Club and President of the Junior Common Room at Exeter College.
Also arrested was a 26-year old opera director, Alex Etchart – who lives on a house boat in the Home Counties- and LSE student Natalie Fiennes, 25, cousin of renowned Oscar-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes. Another LSE graduate Ben Tippet, 24, was also charged.
We have approached Adam Elliott-Cooper.
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