I’m always curious to see what kinds of blackface I’m going to come across around Three Kings’ Day. So many blackface Balthazars make their appearance at kids’ schools and Three Kings’ Day parades across Spain.
While many authentically black people do play Balthazar, not every city or pueblo in Spain has access to a black actor willing to play the part.
But they have to make do with what they have, I suppose.
But it’s 2015, people.
Use your resources. Have you heard of the INTERNET? Isn’t there some organization of actors in Spain? And aren’t some of them black? And do black people live in your town? Or nearby town?
Whatever you do, don’t paint your local Spanish actor BLACK.
With all respect to the following actors who played Balthazar, I commend your efforts. However.
A little more attention to detail, no? Thumbs up! But wait. Who’s hand is that?
If you’re gonna paint yourself, don’t forget other parts. Because you’re just a black head. With a serious pigmentation problem.
At least the beards of the other two white kings are somewhat authentic. Painted black skin — a Conguitos character.
Kids, whatever you do, do not give this Balthazar dos besos (“two kisses”). Or you’ll look like you fell facedown in the mud afterward.
But, extra points for matching your skin to your tunic.
We can take care of that splotchiness. Perhaps a sponge applicator would’ve done the trick. Or were we squeezing the last bits of paint from the tube?
This is a much better effort. All the way down to the nooks and crannies of the ears. But still. Cringe…
The real life black person!
Look at that chocolate skin. Now, wouldn’t a kid believe this is the real Balthazar? Can I get a hell yeah?
And my favorite, most authentic-looking Balthazar on Flickr:
Well done! *whistles and begs for sweets*
So, Balthazars of Spain, stop taking the term “black people” so literally. And can we kill this tradition already?
Have you seen blackface in Spain before? What do you think?
California native, churro aficionado, and mom of 3, Justine Ancheta writes fervently about Barcelona and Spain. Since 2008, she's been eating burnt onions (calçots) and tripping on cobblestones in the Gothic Quarter. She shares tips on popular attractions, exposes offbeat non-touristy spots, and gives insight on exploring Barcelona with kids. Her next Catalan culture challenge: top level of a human castle (castellers).
Sign up and get emails about Barcelona travel. Know before you go! Download your FREE NO-BULL BARCELONA PLANNING GUIDE:
Learn how much things cost, what to bring or buy beforehand, where to stay, and how to get around. Included: budgeting worksheet, checklists, and more!