Jason Aldean (second from left) dressed as Lil Wayne. (NashvilleGab.com)
In the age of social media, celebrities can always expect to be called out for doing something offensive. It might take more than a week, but it’ll happen eventually.
Country star Jason Aldean is learning that, as a photo showing him dressed in a questionable Halloween costume makes the rounds on the Internet. In it, Aldean wears a wig with dreadlocks, some fake bling, and, unfortunately, blackface makeup.
The Georgia native’s rep confirmed to Yahoo that he “dressed as rapper Lil Wayne for Halloween” but declined to comment further.
The offensive costume worn by the Academy of Country Music’s reigning Male Vocalist of the Year shows that, even in 2015, some people still have not received the message that blackface is not OK.
One of the most infamous cases of a celebrity wearing blackface happened 22 years ago, when Cheers star Ted Danson offended during a roast of his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg at New York’s Friars Club. Danson’s look was just one of the many offensive things he did; the actor also used racial epithets and talked about Goldberg’s anatomy. Goldberg defended her partner, telling the New York Times that she had never been about “political correctness.”
Twenty years later, Dancing With the Stars judge Julianne Hough faced backlash after she wore blackface to dress as Orange Is the New Black's Crazy Eyes, played by actress Uzo Aduba. She issued an immediate apology, explaining that she was a big fan of the show and actress, but the incident affected her so much that she was still being asked about it for the April 2015 issue of Allure.
“Ignorance is sometimes not bliss,” Hough said. “I really had no idea what I was doing, and it was all out of fun and respect for the character. I don’t even know how to talk about it because it’s such a sensitive topic. It makes me so sad to think that I was that dumb. I learned a big lesson."
For what it’s worth, Aldean is a fan of rap and many other music genres.
"I listen to everything,” he explained to the Boot website in October 2010. “If you pull out my iPod and put it on random play, you’ll hear everyone from Johnny Rodriguez to John Mellencamp to Eminem to Kanye West, maybe some Def Leppard.”
He performed with another star from Georgia, Ludacris, at the 2011 CMT Awards, then recorded a remix of his song “Dirt Road Anthem” with the rapper/actor. They collaborated again in January on Luda’s song “Burning Bridges."