King Mango & Will.I.Am Wear Blackface in Shameless Attempt to Resurrect Careers

Bumped out of the spotlight, local icon King Mango and hip hop superstar Will.I.Am have resorted to shamelessly donning blackface in order to resurrect their flagging careers.

Critics say the move has set African-Americans and mangos back "1,000 years."

" wearing blackface!? What a racist!" tweeted fakeart123 during the MTV Video Music Awards, where the Black Eyed Peas member performed in his controversial outfit.

King Mango did not attend the celebrity event. Instead, his faux pas was revealed with the release of buttons for this year's King Mango Strut parade. Event co-founder Glenn Terry says the button merely pokes fun at a current event -- the BP oil spill in the Gulf -- just as in years past.

King Mango himself could not be reached for comment, probably because he is a mango.

It's unclear whether Will.I.Am and King Mango consulted with one another before making their ill-advised publicity stunts. Both have struggled to cope with recent downturns in their careers. Will.I.Am single-handedly won Barack Obama the presidency, only to watch Black Eyed Peas newcomer Fergie get all the attention.

King Mango has also endured a stressful year, perhaps contributing to his makeup misadventure. He has been caught between two feuding parade organizers: Terry, whose Coconut Players commissioned this year's button, and Antoinette Baldwin. Both are technically still on the King Mango Strut Inc. board of directors, but Miami City Manager Carlos Migoya decided last week to award this year's parade to Baldwin.

More tech-savvy than King Mango, Will.I.Am quickly responded to criticism over his appearance at the MTV awards show, tweeting:

1st. just because I where (sic) all black including head mask as expression and emphasize my outfit, it shouldn't be looked at as racial...

Let go of the past. there are far more important things 2 bark about.(Jobs, health, education) not a black man wearing all black everything

Are you guys serious? my outfit set "black people back 100 yrs" choose your twits wisely. no education sets people back, no jobs, bad health
While we concede Will.I.Am's point that his outfit caused little harm, his tweets, on the other hand, have easily set the English language back a century or two.

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.