TORONTO — The first Canadian competitor to be featured on "RuPaul's Drag Race" is owning up to a controversial photo in which the performer appears alongside another drag queen who is in blackface.
Brooke Lynn Hytes says posting the image to Instagram in 2013 was a mistake.
"It recently came to my attention that an old photo of me with another drag queen who is in blackface surfaced," Hytes says in a message posted Monday to the Instagram account @bhytes.
"This post was irresponsible on my part; it was rooted in ignorance and came from a place of naivety and privilege."
A poster on Reddit complained about the photo late last week, eliciting a flurry of online condemnations.
The origins of blackface date back to minstrel shows of mid-19th century, when white performers darkened their skin with polish and cork, put on tattered clothing and exaggerated their features to look stereotypically "black." The racist practice initially mimicked enslaved Africans on Southern plantations, depicting black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual. It led to the spread of racism and racial stereotypes.