First Katy Perry, now Macklemore -- it appears that the hot new trend in pop music is dressing as Jewish stereotypes. Last month, Perry donned a prosthetic nose and wig for a performance as "Yosef Shulem," a bar-mitzvah entertainer, in her most recent music video; over the weekend, Macklemore performed wearing a prosthetic nose and wig in Seattle.
The rapper's phony hooked nose and faux black beard scan at first look as stereotypically anti-Semitic representations of Jewish people. It's ironic, considering Macklemore's high-profile support of equality causes (including a gay-rights-themed Grammys performance of "Same Love"), and the degree to which he's been pilloried for seemingly clueless behavior following his defeating a field of black hip-hop artists at the Grammys. After the ceremony, Macklemore made a public show of apologizing to Kendrick Lamar, a fellow nominee; Macklemore seemed to be at once benefiting from a musical tradition not his own and to be rather phonily begging for absolution. One would imagine the criticisms Macklemore had, then, absorbed might have taught him something about putting on explicitly racist garb for fun.
For his part, Macklemore has denied any malign intent:
One imagines the "witches nose" will go into retirement.