Dutch comedian who plays up his blackness under fire

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An advertising campaign featuring comedian Steven Brunswijk from Tilburg, Noord Brabant aimed at young people working in the hospitality sector (hotels, restaurants and cafes, aka ‘horeca’) has raised red flags with anti-discrimination groups as being offensive.

Brunswijk has been known for a few years as the ‘Braboneger’ (‘Brabant negro’ or ‘Brabant n*****’), which is his shtick. It is his stage name and his Twitter handle. What started off as a joke with Brunswijk and his friends making funny videos from a Black guy’s perspective on Noord Brabant (accent, culture, etc.) turned into a character that is on its way to becoming famous.

If anyone thinks that the ad agency came up with the character, then yes, that would be cause for alarm, even though the campaign is about young people getting proper working conditions and nothing to do with discrimination. The problem here is that people are now offended by Brunswijk’s own use of the N-word and therefore the ad campaign is considered to be offensive.

Brunswijk does use the abbreviation ‘BN’, which is also the Dutch abbreviation for celebrity (‘Bekende Nederlander’), again a nice coincidence. Maybe they could have used that instead, but others would see that as censorship.

Noord Brabant television station Omproep Brabant seems nothing but pleased that their guy is head of this campaign.

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, www.braboneger.com, YouTube screenshot)

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