The use of dresses in comedy has evolved, from minstrel shows to modern-day comedy skits. Flip Wilson‘s character “Geraldine” was a fixture on his iconic television show.
While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, “Wanda,” played by Jamie Foxx is portrayed as an unattractive woman looking for love, only to find men to avoid her.
Sheneneh was one most popular characters on Martin and we don’t even need to discuss how Tyler Perry‘s “Madea” helped turn him from a fledging playwright to a billionaire.
However, the use of dresses by black comedians has come under scrutiny for perpetuating harmful stereotypes. Some argue that black men wearing dresses reinforces the idea that black men are not masculine enough or that they are trying to be women. This can also be seen as a form of transphobia, as it suggests that wearing dresses is unnatural and only acceptable as part of a comedic performance.
Comedian Katt Williams‘ recent comments on Club Shay Shay re-ignited the comments around comedians and dress controversy. Williams told host Shannon Sharpe that he was offered a co-starring role in “Big Momma House 2” with Martin Lawrence but it came at a price that he was unwilling to pay: Wearing a dress.
Williams says that Martin told him, “Come on, man, it’s just comedy. It’s not that serious. It’s not like you’re really a woman.’ I said, ‘No, man, I’m not doing it. I have principles and I have dignity. I don’t want to disrespect myself or my people.’ He said, ‘Well, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. You could be a star.’ I said, ‘I’m already a star. I don’t need to wear a dress to be funny.”
One of Williams’ targets, Rickey Smiley, dismissed criticism for wearing a dress while performing and said he was disappointed at the comments.
Williams, like many fellow comedians, believes that wearing the dress is Hollywood’s agenda to emasculate black men and make them look terrible. But you cannot understate the impact of characters like Wanda, Geraldine, and Sheneneh and how it affected the careers of the actors who wore the dress.
As the debate rages once again, look at a list below of iconic Black comedians and actors who donned a dress.
Black Male Comedians And Actors Who Have Worn Dresses was originally published on blackamericaweb.com
1. Marlon Wayans & Shawn Wayans
2. Kevin Hart
3. Dave Chappelle (Maybe)
We don’t see below the belt
4. Eddie MurphySource:YouTube Video
Eddie Murphy played a number of characters in “The Nutty Professor,” and wore a dress.
5. Rickey Smiley
Rickey Smiley as Sister Bernice Jenkins
6. Jamie FoxxSource:YouTube Video
The infamous character Wanda on the Fox TV Series “In Living Color” kicked off Jamie Foxx’s legendary career
7. Miguel A. Núñez Jr.Source:YouTube Video
Juwanna Mann anyone?
8. Chris TuckerSource:YouTube Video
Tucker played the eccentric character Ruby Rho in the Futuristic film “The Fifth Element”
9. Wesley SnipesSource:YouTube Video
Wesley Snipes in To Wong Foo
10. Martin LawrenceSource:YouTube Video
Martin Lawrence as Big Momma!
11. Arsenio HallSource:YouTube Video
“Coming To America” features Eddie Murphy sitting next to the beautiful Arsenio Hall.
12. Tyler Perry
Madea is probably the most famous man in a dress right now.
13. Flip Wilson
Possibly the OG of Comedians wearing Dresses, Flip Wilson’s character Geraldine was a major scene stealer on the Flip Wilson Show
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