Man in blackface sings racist song to black colleague, court hears
The staffer allegedly badgered the woman to attend the party and then 'blacked up' as a minstrel for his performance
A Christmas party for The Priory rehabilitation clinic in London saw a man “black up” as a minstrel and sing Mammy to a black colleague, a UK court has heard after he was charged with racial harassment.
Brian Davies, 62, is alleged to have “singled out” the woman, causing her “alarm, distress and offence”, during his costumed performance at a staff event on December 19.
He had darkened his face to impersonate a character from the Black and White Minstrel Show, which aired on television during the 1960s and 1970s, prosecutors claim.
The Cardiff Magistrate’s Court heard that Loretta Dayley, a catering manager, became the focus of Davies’s rendition of a minstrel song called Mammy at Coopers Carvery in Cardiff.
It is thought the case is among the first to come before a British court involving so-called “blackfacing”, where a non-black performer uses make-up to caricature a black person.
Prosecutor Robert Reid said the Black and White Minstrel Show “was part of mainstream culture and entertainment, but we have moved on and social attitudes have changed”.
The court was shown a video of Davies’s performance, where his face was visibly darkened.
Dayley said she recognised the tune and knew it “was deemed a racist song”.
Davies allegedly insisted Dayley attend the event and, when met with “reluctance”, claimed that he had bought her a “present”.
Reid said: “The persistence he displayed on her attending shows that he was intent on focusing this particular prank on her.
“At the Christmas outing he retired briefly before returning, dressed as a black and white minstrel from a television show, and he sang a number of lines from that show, paying attention to Miss Dayley.”
Davies was seen in the footage wearing a boater hat, a white shirt, and swinging a cane as he sang at Dayley, who was laughing along with her colleagues.
But Reid said the incident left Dayley “distressed” and that she had been off work for “some time”.
Dayley broke down in tears while telling the court via video link how she felt “humiliated” during the stunt.
She said: “Because everyone was laughing I started laughing too. But I was really embarrassed. Everyone was roaring with laughter and I just wanted the ground to swallow me up.”
Dayley said colleagues were taking photographs and video clips of Davies and some even posed for selfies with him.
The court heard that Davies was interviewed by police after Dayley made a complaint and insisted he had no intention of causing her distress. He further denied his behaviour was abusive.
Davies, from Caernarvon Garden, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, pleaded not guilty to using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour, as well as causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.
The trial continues.
– © The Daily Telegraph
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