Raffi Torres’ Jay-Z Halloween Costume Faces Criticism For Use Of Blackface
In the spirit of Halloween, Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres and his wife, Gianna, decided to dress up as Jay-Z and Beyonce for a team party. In an effort to resemble the popular couple as closely as they could, Raffi wore a New York Yankees hat, black sunglasses and a white T-shirt, while his wife wore a sparkling dress. The couple also decided to paint their skin black, but that addition to their costume didn’t seem to sit well with some who have since claimed that the act of wearing blackface for Halloween is racist.
Individuals wearing blackface as part of their costumes has come under scrutiny in recent years, as many believe it brings back memories of a time when white performers used it to create a stereotyped caricature of a black person. As for Torres, he was merely attempting to resemble his favorite musician as closely as he could, and did not intend for his costume to be viewed as racist.
The image of Raffi and Gianna in their costumes was posted on the Twitter account of teammate Paul Bissonnette. With almost 160,000 followers, it didn’t take long for the backlash to start pouring in, sparking the following comment from @BizNasty2point0:
As far as everyone trying to call “Racism” because Raffi dressed up like Jay-Z can simmer down. He’s a huge Jay-Z fan.
The Coyotes have also responded to the matter, issuing the following statement in support of Torres:
“There was absolutely nothing racist about Raffi and his wife’s costumes. Raffi is a huge fan of Jay Z and his wife loves Beyonce. It was a Halloween party. The fact that this was reported is ridiculous. We will have no further comment.”
We couldn’t agree more with both Bissonnette and the Phoenix Coyotes. If Torres was attempting to emulate the negative stereotypes many associate with black people while wearing blackface, then yes, this would clearly be an act of racism. That was certainly not the case here, so everyone should stop the hating and enjoy the holiday.