In our upcoming summer episode, Anna Winger interviews German actor Tyron Ricketts about the use of blackface in German theater, in which white actors are routinely “painted” to play black roles. Ricketts is one of the most successful black actors in Germany, having played a Kommissar for many years on the popular ZDF crime series SOKO Leipzig. He is also a singer and rapper, and has a new album coming out this summer, called Weltenreiter.
For a taste of both projects, check out this video posted in the Bild Zeitung for one of his new songs. It was edited together from SOKO Leipzig footage shot in Namibia, of Ricketts with Günther Kaufmann, the recently deceased German actor and singer, also black, who was famous for his roles in Fassbinder movies, and who played Ricketts’ father on the show.
The poster above is from a campaign that Ricketts, who is very politically active in Germany, participated in recently, encouraging immigrants to learn to speak German.