A report this week from Colombia by Jesús Karabalí said that the country’s Afro-Colombian community had set October 8 and 9 as days of protest against Soldado Micolta (Private Micolta), a blackface television character seen on the Sábados Felices (Happy Saturdays) show, broadcast by Caracol TV. According to the report, protesters went to the Caracol studios to speak out again the “racist content” found in several Caracol programs. The protesters also went to the government’s cultural offices as well. They are asking for a real dialogue and action about what they see is an inherent and long-standing problem not only in Colombia, but all over Latin America (read William García’s excellent overview).
Twitter did have one image of the October 8 protest:
Plantón en las oficinas de @CaracolTV en bogotá. por programa racista con el #soldadomicolta. #BastadeRacismo pic.twitter.com/FVQ2sPDCPg
— Cadhubev BenkosVive (@BenkosVive) October 9, 2015
A YouTube video of one of the protests is also available:
On October 10, it was business as usual at Caracol, whose Twitter profile was promoting the latest adventures of the Micolta character, a popular figure portrayed by actor Roberto Lozano:
#Vídeos Micolta se va de compras y estos son los cacharros que le pasan: http://t.co/aGGGzGJDED #SábadosFelices pic.twitter.com/ZuFvcUd2XR — Caracol Televisión (@CaracolTV) October 11, 2015
By the way, you should also know that Lozano’s Twitter handle is @negromicolta (“@blackmicolta”). This is Lozano’s official Twitter profile, whose bio reads “Un hermoso niño nacio el 16 de enero de 1978 pero un día se pintó de negro y gracias a sus pequeños ojitos y pulida boquita se creó MICOLTA que sigue ??????????” (“A lovely boy born on January 16, 1978, but un day he painted himself black and thanks to his little eyes and smooth mouth, MICOLTA was created, what will happen next ??????????”)
Here is a video of a Micolta skit with his comedy parter, the character of Lieutenant Rincón (we doubt we need to translate for you):
The report also indicated that Colombian TV has a dreadful history of discrimination against Afro-Colombians, saying that it won’t even give actors opportunities. It cited ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy as a good example of giving opportunities to African Americans because of show creator Shonda Rhimes, but when Colombia’s RCN bought the Spanish-language rights to that show, RCN did not cast any Afro-Colombian actor. Karabalí writes about RCN’s decision: “Esta es la muestra más clara y frontal de racismo de la cual se tenga evidencia en la historia de la televisión colombiana.” (“This is the clearest and most in-your-face example of racism in the history of Colombian television.”)
In addition, the report is also calling for a boycott of an October 30 Los Siameses Comedy show in Cali, which features Micolta:
We discussed Micolta on Latino Rebels Radio:
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