A Kendrick Lamar impersonator has sparked controversy by wearing blackface and using the N-word during a TV performance.
Polish singer Kuba Szmajkowski – who is white – recently participated in the Spanish version of Your Face Sounds Familiar, a reality show where contestants impersonate famous artists.
Szmajkowski delivered a cover of Lamar’s 2017 hit single ‘Humble’ in the studio, and went on to win season 19 of the programme, according to HipHopDX.
Ahead of the episode, the singer shared an Instagram video of himself that shows his transformation into Lamar. He is given a bald cap and some fake cornrows, and applied with blackface makeup. Three images of the real rapper can be seen next to the mirror.
Szmajkowski then chose not to censor the N-word in the televised performance. However, the word has reportedly been removed from the YouTube video. In the comments section, one person wrote: “You can appreciate the culture or the art without being offensive or doing blackface FFS.”
Another viewer said: “Trash! Why was this the song he chose tho..? why was it approved? I got too many questions.”
Replying to Szmajkowski’s Instagram post, a third person commented: “This is top racism. Do you not see how inappropriate this is? Not to mention offensive? Wrong. Stop it.”
Elsewhere, a user wrote: “PUT IT DOWN. Google BlackFace and learn from your mistake. It’s 2023.”
Currently, the reality show airs iterations in various locations including former Yugoslavia and parts of central Europe. It was noted in a 2021 essay by writer Catherine Baker that these don’t have the same history of colonialism and racial oppression as the US and UK do.
In other news, Kendrick Lamar last week joined Beyoncé onstage in Los Angeles to perform the live debut of their ‘AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM’ remix.
Back in June, the rapper performed at Governors Ball 2023 in New York City. NME hailed his set as “one of the most lively performances of the weekend” in a four-star review of the festival.
“Fans from all over the city come together for the set, dancing on shoulders and singing in unison as if this was the moment they’ve been waiting for all their life,” it added.