Dan Aykroyd talks blackface in ‘Trading Places’….


One of the 1980’s best comedies was Trading Places. Starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd that saw a wealthy investor (Aykroyd) character trading places with Murphy’s con artist as part of a bet by two millionaires. Helmed by John Landis and was the latest in a run of hit films after Animal House, The Blues Brothers and An American Werewolf in London and he film was a smash hit.  But in today’s climate where some take exception to just about any joke the films use of Dan Aykroyd blacking up would today understandably cause outrage. And so in a recent interview Dan Aykroyd talks blackface in ‘Trading Places’ with surprising candour.

His character, Louis Winthorpe III, appeared as a Jamaican character with dreadlocks and a stereotypical Caribbean accent and Aykroyd said, ‘I was in blackface in that film and I probably couldn’t get away with it now,” ……. “Eddie and I were improvising there. Eddie is a Black man and his entourage were all Black people, and I don’t think they batted an eye. There was no objection then; nobody said anything. It was just a good comic beat that was truthful to the story.”

He went on to say…“I probably wouldn’t choose to do a blackface part, nor would I be allowed to do it. I probably wouldn’t be allowed to do a Jamaican accent, white face or Black,” he said. “In these days we’re living in, all that’s out the window. I would be hard-pressed to do an English accent and get away with it. They’d say, ‘Oh, you’re not English, you can’t do it.

As Dan Aykroyd talks blackface he added that today you just can noot, “go pulling any divisive cards to get a laugh.” and continued, ‘“Who can be the subject of an impression today? That’s an area of discussion. Can I do my James Brown imitation? He was one of my best friends. I do his voice pretty good. But maybe I shouldn’t anymore.”

related feature: A famous actor ‘blacks up’

related feature: ‘Ali and Ava’ – an interracial love story

source: the daily beast & hollywood reporter


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