Zulu will keep blackface tradition despite new attention to race issues

Dave Cohen, WWL First News early edition
February 12, 2019 - 7:58 am



With all of the national attention on blackface, will it impact the annual Zulu parade on Fat Tuesday?

The krewe says that it will not.

Zulu historian Clarence Becknell said that the tradition of dark black makeup on float riders faces was started more than 100 years ago.

"They couldn’t afford the masks," he explained to WWL TV. "To us it didn’t mean anything; it was just a mask."

He says now it is tradition.

"Part of the costume is the blackface," he explained. "We’re not political, we don’t use it for any other reason than just to parade. That’s all."

Riders of all races wear the black face paint in the Zulu parade.

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