As Black people, we have almost been accustomed to knowing how to take a joke — many of us can dish them out with perfect comedic timing, too! However, when our very race becomes the butt of said joke, that’s when things become not-so-jovial.
In the case of comedian-turned-councilman Augie Tulba of Honolulu, who recently came under fire for actually reposting a video on himself in blackface, we’re definitely having a hard time getting the joke. At all.
KITV4 was first to report on this WTF moment (seen above), which showed Tulba reenacting the elimination segment from Tyra Bank’s classic realty TV series America’s Next Top Model. His version is titled Hawaii’s Next Top Mahu — “māhū” is an ancient Hawaiian term described as “third gender,” or in more modern times “transgender” — and it shows him not only offending people of color but also the LGBTQ+ community for misrepresenting trans woman with a poorly-edited joke. Tulba plays multiple characters throughout the skit, including a style guru named Jay Jay (a play off ANTM‘s real-life hosts Mr. Jay and Mrs. Jay) and a contestant with the name Mo’Unique, which in itself feels racially insensitive.
The now-disgraced council member originally reflected back with glee, writing as a caption on the reposted IG video, “We laughed so hard filming this segment. #FunTimes.”
Not so sure he’s laughing as hard right now.
So far Tulba hasn’t made an official response to the backlash, aside from deleting the video off of his Instagram. He did however release a statement via his manager, which you can read below:
“This comedy skit was written, performed in, and endorsed by a trans sexual cast member of color nearly 15 years ago in a much different social climate. As many in Hawaii know, Augie is not only a proud father of two openly gay men, but also deeply supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. He has worked hard for three decades to make people of all backgrounds laugh, just as he works hard today to keep his community safe, positive and healthy.”
So, is this a case of racial insensitivity or just the rest of us being too sensitive? He may have deleted the video from IG, but we found it via his Facebook. Click here to watch and let us know your thoughts.
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