A councilman in a Virginia county recently apologized after darkening his skin to dress up as a character from the popular movie Coming to America.
WWBT News in Richmond, Virginia reported on Tuesday that Warsaw Councilman Faron Hamblin, a white man, recently posted a picture of himself with darkened skin, dressed as the Coming to America character, Randy Watson.
Hamblin, who is also a musician, wrote in the Facebook post, “In honor of my late friend, I went out as the legendary Randy Watson tonight. Give it up for my band Sexual Chocolate,” according to WWBT News. The post referenced a scene from the movie Coming to America where actor Eddie Murphy played Watson as the lead singer of the band Sexual Chocolate.
In the original Coming to America movie, Watson and Sexual Chocolate perform a rendition of Whitney Houston’s 1985 single, The Greatest Love of All. Watson also appears in the movie’s sequel, Coming 2 America.
According to WWBT News, shortly after Hamblin posted the picture of himself dressed as Watson, he received backlash and criticism from many, leading him to eventually delete the post.
WWBT News reported that Hamblin issued a response to the criticism on his public Facebook page shortly after removing the original post.
“Folks I made a post of me dressed like the movie character Randy Watson. For those of you who know the movie, Randy is a [B]lack man. So I dressed the part. Suit, hair and yes my makeup was brown,” Hamblin wrote in the post, according to a screenshot from WWBT News. “Many saw it degrading, which I did not. I did it to show my love for the character and the movie. But since I’m white it’s considered by some as offensive to dress as a black person.”
In Coming to America, Murphy also played a white Jewish man named Saul, which Hamblin spoke about in his post.
“In the movie Eddie Murphy portrayed a white Jewish man and it was funny as hell,” Hamblin wrote, according to the screenshot. “I can’t speak for the Jewish community and I’m sure some were offended. But Eddie showed his freedom of expression. He never meant any ill harm to the Jewish community.”
The screenshot of the post also showed that Hamblin said he never intended for the picture to be a racist issue, adding that he posted it because he believed that everyone “should have the freedom of expression.”
“I made a post that hurt a lot of folks and that was not my intention,” Hamblin added, according to WWBT News.
Newsweek reached out to Hamblin and the town of Warsaw, Virginia for comment.