Black Pete, the controversial Dutch #Christmas character who sparks annual protests in the country, will no longer appear in blackface each year on the Dutch public broadcaster NTR.
Actors playing the character will now only have soot marks on their cheeks, reflecting his travels down chimneys alongside #SantaClaus, according to NTR, which makes the yearly program showing the character's arrival.
The presence of "Zwarte Piet" at Christmas festivals and on television is an annual source of debate in the #Netherlands, with #critics and protesters calling the character a racist throwback to the colonial era.
He has traditionally been played by white actors in blackface, wearing a curly afro-style wig and red lipstick.
NTR said in a news release that it is making the change in a way that respects tradition but also reflects societal changes.
The characters will have soot on their faces because they go through people's chimneys to deliver gifts, the broadcaster added, with the amount of soot on each actor depending on how many chimneys they have traversed.
The character, popularized in a 19th century children's book, is a helper of Sinterklaas, the figure based on St. Nicholas who served as inspiration for Santa Claus.
His unveiling is broadcast live as part of NTR's annual program "Sinterklaasjournaal," a mock news program aimed at children that shows the arrival of Sinterklaas and his helpers.
But he has prompted protests each year by people on both sides of the debate, with critics also sending complaints to the Dutch government.
#melanin #panafrican #foodforthought #blackisbeautiful #blackwomenrock #blackboyjoy #blackexcellence #culture #blackmagic #rbg #melaninrich #blackmenrock #embracebeauty #blackunity #blackmedia