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Nick Cannon goes whiteface: Comedian shares controversial Instagram photo

If Nick Cannon’s goal was to spark discussion about the release of his upcoming album, then he has succeeded. As Us Weekly reports on March 25, the “America’s Got Talent” host has sparked controversy by posting a photo of him in whiteface to promote his first album in 11 years, “White People Party Music.”

Nick Cannon visits Music Choice's 'You and A' at Music Choice on February 19, 2014 in New York City.
(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Along with the photo posted on Instagram, Cannon added the text: “It’s official…I’m white!!!” He then added the hashtages, “WHITEPEOPLEPARTYMUSIC #Wppm in stores April 1st!!!!!Dude Go Get It!!!! join The Party!!!!#GoodCredit#DogKissing #BeerPong #FarmersMarket #FistPumping #CreamCheeseEating #RacialDraft ‘Bro I got drafted!!”

In the photo, Cannon is in whiteface and is wearing a flannel, t-shirt, jeans and a hipster beanie and goes by the name of “Connor Smallnut.” With the photo, Cannon is definitely aiming to promote his album with something meant to be funny, but controversy is what he received instead. Imagine the backlash if a white artist did something similar? Actually many pointed out the heat Julianne Hough received when she wore blackface to a Halloween party.

Nick Cannon has been accused of being “racist” and “ignorant” on his posts while some see it as “hilarious” and on point. Most of all, it opens the discussion of double standards and walks the tightrope between racism and humor.

The album title alone didn’t draw as much attention as the photo, but Cannon did explain the title in an interview with Us Weekly.

“You go to a party and white people are having more fun than anybody. They know how to have a good time! I could have named the album Purple People Party Music and you’d still get the same album, but it was just one of those things. You know, you deal with things like race, and people get uptight, so why not?”

He goes on to explain how the title arose from a crate of music he once had as a DJ that he labeled “White People Party Music.”

Whether the stunt hurts or helps sales of his album, the move is definitely a risky one and one that has opened debate and discussion about racial differences, stereotypes and perception and a stunt that Vanity Fair says will make “the world” cringe. In other words, the humor is missing from this joke.