Blackface racism abolished at Spanish Three Kings festival

This video from Spain says about itself:

6 January 2013

Thousands of people take to the streets of central Madrid for the annual Three Kings parade on the eve of the Epiphany. Report by Rob Gillett.

As turns out, that was one of the last time when this was a blackface festival.

From daily El País in Spain:


After years of pressure, Madrid’s King Balthazar to be played by black man

New council to honor longstanding claim by African community regarding January 5 parade

Esther Sánchez

Madrid, 18 SEP 2015 – 09:40 CEST

For the first time ever, one of the stars of Madrid’s annual Three Kings of Orient parade will be played by a black man rather than a white man wearing makeup.

Every January 5, Spanish cities hold street parades celebrating the biblical tale of the Three Wise Men who brought gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. That night, children go to bed hoping that the Magi will bring them their Christmas presents.

One of these characters, King Balthazar, has traditionally been portrayed as dark-skinned. But despite longstanding calls for the figure to be played by a person of African descent, the request had so far fallen on deaf ears.

Now, municipal sources say the new leftist government of Manuela Carmena has accepted a petition filed by the Socialist Party.

“It is an old demand by the Afro-Socialist group, and now it looks like it’s going to happen,” said a source.

Socialist councilor Mar Espinar said the decision is more symbolic than it may first appear.

“It is a new step toward the normalization and integration of all peoples, races and cultures that make up the Madrid melting pot,” she said in a release.

Traditionally, city councilors have played the role of the Three Kings.

“Fortunately, this anachronism will be left behind by next Christmas,” said Espinar.

Other Spanish municipalities have been hiring black people to play King Balthazar for some time, including the nearby town of Alcorcón.

4 thoughts on “Blackface racism abolished at Spanish Three Kings festival

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