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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 20, 2020

Video edited to look like Biden introduced singer in blackface

If Your Time is short

  • This video was edited so that it appears that Joe Biden is introducing someone in blackface. 

A YouTube video that wrongly claims to show former Vice President Joe Biden introducing a musician in blackface has been misleadingly edited so that the man’s skin appears much darker than in reality. 

"Old C-SPAN footage of Joe Biden introducing man in blackface, joking that he is Michael Jackson," the June 13 video is titled. 

"There’s one more band member that I want you to meet," Biden says, standing on stage at a podium in a room with people milling around. Ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson, Michael, would you please stand?" 

A man whose face is so dark his features are hard to see stands with his arms extended and smiles. Starting in the 1800s, white men would darken their faces to create offensive caricatures of Black people for minstrel performances that used racial stereotypes. 

"Thank you, thank you very much," Biden says after the man bows and sits back down. "Soon to become Prince as was just pointed out to me." 

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The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

On C-SPAN’s website, there is a clip that’s titled "Joe Biden introduces blackface singer," but the clip was created by a user on Jan. 7, 2020. The site notes that "this clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN."

In this version of the footage the face of the man, who is Black, is not darkened and his features are distinguishable. 

This footage lives elsewhere on C-SPAN’s website: In a recording of the May 1985 Democratic Congressional Dinner. Biden can be seen introducing the singer around the 2-hour-and 52-minute mark.

The Washington Examiner reported on Jan. 9, 2020, that the singer’s name is Jerome Powell. He told the publication that it was "just a big mistake" that Biden called him Michael Jackson. "I mean, Michael Jackson and I were in two entirely different categories."

We rate this claim False.


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Video edited to look like Biden introduced singer in blackface

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