Cyclist dresses up in blackface during Halloween biking event in Detroit

Via Facebook

A white cyclist showed up in blackface to a diverse Halloween biking event in downtown Detroit on Monday evening.

Photos of the man, who was dressed as rapper Lil Wayne, fanned across social media on Tuesday, prompting outrage – and some defenders.

Many pointed out that blackface is offensive because it was used to create degrading caricatures of black people, their images emblazoned on advertising. The exaggerated features reinforced a dehumanizing stereotype that black people were ignorant, inferior and buffoonish.

On Monday, the costumed man was riding with hundreds of other cyclists during the Halloween Slow Roll. Some riders said the man was offensive and acting wildly. Others stopped to take pictures with him.

“The fact that it was used to dehumanize and make fun of a race of people brings back bad memories and racial tension,” Teresa Stout said on Facebook. “It’s not okay. The problem is, a lot of white people do not know this. It is our job as the educated part of society to educate and inform.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • D Girl

    Looks like Lil Wayne to me. At some point there needs to come a time for a little levity. Jeez. Give the dude a break. Maybe this dude a huge lil wayne fan and wanted be his rap hero for the day.

  • Thee1tooth

    1) Worst Freddy kreuger costume ever. Why is his mouth stitched? Why are his eyes black? 2) of all the rappers this guy could have chosen ho chose lil wayne? I mean, theyre are plenty of white rappers to choose from. 3) Thats a horrible lil wayne costume. The color is off, no face tats. The guy just looks dirty.

  • Opus to the X



    The sun shines east, the sun shines west,

    I know where the sun shines best–


    My little mammy,

    My heartstrings are tangled around Alabammy.

    I’m comin’,

    Sorry that I made you wait.

    I’m comin’,

    Hope and trust that I’m not late, oh oh oh


    My little Mammy,

    I’d walk a million miles

    For one of your smiles,

    My Mammy! Oh oh oh…

  • falseprophet

    If this offends you, most likely you are a Muckraker sir!

  • hitmhard313

    A lot of these people know how racist this shit is they know exactly what their doing when they where black face this muthfucka go try to use lil Wayne as the back drop of his costume I wish I was there I would have smacked that black make up off his face.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      What if he is from a homogeneous culture with no slave history and is just visting?

      What if he rightfully shot you, you died, no charges for him. That would be funny.

  • Jack Ramsey

    Until we all learn to laugh, we are doomed.

  • Jordan Wright

    Must be a slow news week, eh?

  • Larry Gray

    This is reading like a Fox News race baiting article

  • bebow

    One must ask why any white guy with two working brain cells would think it’s acceptable to pedal into Detroit, of all places, and do this particular kind of offensive act. The answer is obvious. People, even crude, vulgar individuals, pick up on social cues. The colonials have observed how the city has mistreated the black population and concluded they are at liberty to do the same. It’s being noticed.

  • Tyler

    Since Steve deleted his reply to my comment I’ll share what he had to say.

    You’re right. This site is the problem with racial disparities. Why don’t you go find another site to troll? May I suggest the Free Press or Fox 2?

    Yes, your site (read you), are one of the problems with racial desparity. By changing the title to man dresses in blackface when he SHE was dressed as Lil wayne, you are arousing false, racially biased anger and hatred. You commonly write about things as fact which you know nothing about. You are just as bad as the afore mentioned fox 2 and free press if not worse. You have a loyal fan base which trusts your judgement yet you choose to lead them with false information. So I repeat. YES, YOU ARE A PROBLEM!

    • Ack Ack Ack

      Stop with the hostility to journalism, you’re sounding borderline fascist. We get it, you think this isn’t blackface. What you need to understand is many people think it is, and while you can ignore that our arguments are better than yours, what you can’t ignore is that people disagree and there is nothing you can do about it.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        no people WANT it to be blackface when it is not. There is a big difference.

        • Ack Ack Ack

          Projection. You want it not to be blackface. You read like a book.

    • RonQ

      I agree 100%

      Steve is slowly becoming just like that idiot Charlie LeDuff…

  • Tyler

    How about changing the title to what this actually is “white guy dresses as lil wayne, everyone gets butt hurt and assumes racism” quit with your satirical bullshit. You and your “news” are the fuckin problem.

    • Ack Ack Ack

      As I said above, this is a white guy putting on black makeup and using an exaggerated and controversial personality (Lil Wayne). This is modern blackface. Steve is merely reporting on the issue – no where does he discuss motive. Your reactionary, and probably self-serving, BS, intended to shut down discussions surrounding problematic issues concerning race, is the problem.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        freddy murders people for fun. He is controversial, this modern whiteface is keeping down poor whites, and this stuff just adds to the hate they suffer through.

        You are a racist for only seeing it one way.

        • Ack Ack Ack

          Your argument is nonsensical and unserious.

          • lastmanindetroit

            He is mocking your closed minded one-way logic.

      • lastmanindetroit

        This is not modern black face, it is Halloween. My guess to what his motivation may have been is that he was looking to get some laughs. You just want to stir up problems.

    • RonQ

      Steve Neavling is becoming a joke with BS stories like this.

  • Human garbage, as well as anyone who defends it.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      Why. There needs to be a why, I needs to be enforced, all races need to follow it etc.

      I for example am sick of hearing “cultural appropriation” by minorities in western european suits, doing damn near everything europeans do. Stealing their food, their manerisms, their customs, their cars, style of homes, damn near everything, with the exception of some things chinese invented 2,0000 years ago.

      Why do you suppose no one every brings these things up. Its actually based in white hatred. Not blacks being equal.

      Its why i had to point out its a black guy under the freddy mask.

      • .. and the crazies come out in full effect.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          you are a simple minded fascist. You are programed by the schools or the media, you parrot what they say with out the most basic examination of it, and think you are better than others to boot. You are one sick puppy.

          The basis is it offends people, therefore it cannot be done, then ALMOST ANYONE CAN STOP ANYONE ELSE FROM DOING ANYTHING YOU MORON !

  • gjalt

    Loosen up, Steve. This is nowhere near the 1920s black face makeup you allude to. Thanks for bein out there protecting us as a member of the PC police. At least he didn’t dress up like a
    Redskin. Whew!

  • Queen


  • javierjuanmanuel

    notice that freddy is a black dude, also dressed up as a specific white guy. If the races cannot dress up as each other, then this black dude needs to be outed. Who is he !

    • Guest

      You misunderstand the historical aspects of blackface entirely. There’s no historical baggage with dressing as a white guy.

      • gjalt

        This is not historical blackface, this is Lil Wayne. I suppose you also believe blacks can’t be racist since they don’t have ‘power.’

      • javierjuanmanuel

        I did not mistake anything. This guy is not doing a little sambo act, doing soft shoe mr bojangles stuff. You mistake anyone dressing up as a well known black guy as race or hate based.

        So how long did black face have to go on to impact blacks ?

        I have seen decades of black guys doing lame voiced nerdy pale face loser white guy acts. Chapelle much ? By the way, I loved dave years before he was on tv I had all his cds, and downloaded tons of his live stuff, and had every movie he was in.

        Its not a one way street. There is no black face in comedy clubs, burlesque shows, etc. You would be looking at maybe the last ones 50 years ago.

        • Ack Ack Ack

          Mistaken and ahistorical. He is a white guy putting on black makeup and using an exaggerated and controversial personality (Lil Wayne). This is modern blackface.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            now there is modern blackface. You are aware lil wayne is no different than superman, or the snow man from frozen, or a transformer, or the kid from UP, or X. This is not even exaggerated or distasteful in any way, it is dressed and tatted just like wayne. How is it blackface?

            Blackface was exaggerated, tar black face, comic big lips, most importantly speaking poorly etc.

            This is just a costume.

            The black dude in the freddy mask is clearly doing modern white face? Ohh you have not heard of that. Get educated, it impacts white people and keeps them down. There are millions of downtrodden poor multi generation poor white people. That black kid is mocking them !

          • Ack Ack Ack

            How is it blackface? Well, you have a white guy wearing black makeup with the comically large gold grill and dreadlocks of a rapper/criminal/otherwise public personality. The majority of white America thinks Lil Wayne – or his image – denotes “thug”, a term white America uses to dehumanize black people. Listen, this isn’t up for discussion, and simply saying “this isn’t blackface” isn’t an argument, nor is the “modern white face” false equivalency.

          • Krivo

            Lil Wayne has went to jail? Or a criminal in that he wasn’t caught? He was a rapper from the age of what…12? So he was slanging yay or whatever even though he was a huge rap star? What?

          • Krivo

            And okay. Let’s assume you’re right. So would it be okay to use blackface and be John Legend? Soulfully croon on whatever piano was around, with a fresh haircut and wearing fashionable clothing? The total opposite of a “thug” ?

          • lastmanindetroit

            Your racism is showing. This is up for discussion and freedom is a two-way street. You can’t censor the world when you disagree with someone or see an opportunity to get some pity. Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of every living person. Thank god you aren’t in power. This article is only here to create controversy and further divide people. You are playing right into their game and have become their mouthpiece.

          • Opus to the X

            Here’s 50 cents…Go cry to someone who gives a s**t

        • Chappelle’s white guy impression makes it hard for me to control my bodily functions.

          Somehow, my Dave Chappelle picture didn’t come through, but my Nick Cannon one did. My apologies.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        you do not get to define or measure my half white baggage.

    • SO

      Notice that the guy dressed up as Freddy didn’t have to paint his skin white to get his point across.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        what do you think the mask achieves ? It is painted rubber, same thing.

    • biggiet

      That’s a mask.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    You always have to judge intent. Has this guy been a lil wayne fan since about 1998, been to concerts, have every cd, buys his clothes, etc. Knows thousands of lyrics etc? Then its not racist, he loves lil wayne.

    The old days were mocking generic freed slave, poor speaking dude, with bad clothes, and stereotypes. This is not a stereotype, it is a actual guy.

    I myself would not have done it, but there are good example of white people in makeup, not black face, notice there is not the tar black face with cartoon big lips …. there was a little white who made the news last year guy who loved a football player, I forget who, it does not matter, kid was all geared up, had his hero’s jersey on, kid was about 5 and would do anything to be that guy, player X in the NFL. NOTHING racial at all, his hero of all hero’s is a black guy, how far from racist can you get to idolize a black guy, not mock them as a race, and this little kid ended up on social media and was just torn to pieces and called all sorts of name.

    Reminds me of being a kid in the late 80s, all my heros were black athletes like jordan, magic, barkley, the dream, joe dumars, and NWA. It would have been bad as hell to dress up as easy e and have a jerri curl and the coaches jacket, high tops, raiders hat, gold chain, fake gun, empty 40 oz of old english.

    Thats not mocking, I LOVED NWA. I loved barkley, I loved olajuwon.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      I could sorta see some early days social justice warrior asshole say ohhh you think all black people have guns and drink, your racist.

      I would say, no not even close, I am Easy E, yes I stay strapped and yes I nurse 40s all day long. I get dusted, I bang groupies, I roll a 64. Maybe you think every black dude is easy E? I almost cannot understand how people cannot make the distinction.

      Even if its a black dude in a negative way, its ok if it is a well known black guy, like jesse jackson robbing people with a race card, and he has a bugs bunny style bag of cash over his shoulder with the $ sign on it. Thats mocking a despicable loathsome specific black dude.

      • Guest

        Anyone using the term, “social justice warrior” is typically a racist/misogynist/pickyourist.

        Why is it so damn important to you to wear blackface when you KNOW it offends people? There is only one answer, you don’t give a flying fuck about racism.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          really that is a fact ? It is a real movement, what other name would you like? Oversensitive soap box preachers who get offended but only over certain things that sorta impact people that vote exactly like them. That does not roll off the tongue so easy.

          Freedom of speech for one, I can shut down anything you say, then you have to shut up, if I say it offends me!

          Oh wait, just like i said upfront, this is only for people that look like you or vote like you.

          You DO NOT care about people not like you being offended.

          I do not know you, but yet I can strangely sense last week when the palin girl was abused and slandered and beaten on, you did NOT think, it was a womans right issue, you laughed and high fived your equally hateful friends, family, coworkers.

          Stop posting on here. You offend me!

  • Brianna Pflug

    So you’re telling me that you would know who he is right off that back knowing without his “black face”? No you probably wouldn’t without asking. It’s sad that people who think this was racism, no it wasn’t it was people dressing up and having fun. I’m sure if they were THAT offended something would have been done. This is 2014 quit pulling the damn racist card. No one would have an issue if people weren’t so damn ignorant about the situation.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      Right it was a specific guy. He did not put on a tar black face with cartoon big lips, and then act negative, like when you asked him who he was, he said wait, turned around pulled out a crack pipe and said can you guess now ? Thats offensive.

      With out the black face he is a white asshole with dreads! Who dresses like a skate kid.

    • Darlene Talley

      Right! People always trying to start some mess! Maybe he’s a fan of Lil’ Wayne!

    • Ack Ack Ack

      First, I doubt it was done out of malice, but right off the bat I know he lacks judgement and has a poor understanding of the history of blackface. Second, no where in the article does Neavling even mention the word “racist”, so stop with the reactionary BS to an otherwise reasonable article attempting to discuss a problematic issue.

  • bebow

    The colonials lack respect.

    • Is colonials really the right word? Colonists, maybe?

      Colonial makes it seem to me that they’ve established their own government and such.

      As a white person, I prefer the term colorless. However, I am also partial to Honky, as I believe Redd Foxx was a national treasure. If it was good enough for Redd Foxx, you better believe it’s good enough for me.

      • bebow

        Yes, that’s the word I want to use.

  • bebow

    The colonials lack respect.

  • Muhammad Mojaradi

    I think it can be okay, depending on the context, and his intention