Lancashire troop of Morris dancers blacks up in defiance of ancient tradition’s governing body that banned the practice and council that axed their funding
- Britannia Coconut Dancers performed in Bacup, Lancashire this Saturday
- Wearing black makeup, they insist it has ‘no connection’ to ‘racial prejudice’
- Their former governing body banned the practice for its potential to cause hurt
A controversial troupe of Morris dancers performed today with blacked up faces in spite of bans put in place by their former governing body.
The Britannia Coconut Dancers put on a 10-hour show for locals this Easter Saturday as they made their way through Bacup town in Lancashire.
Wearing black makeup, the group insist that covering their faces comes as part of a clog-dancing tradition dating back more than 150 years.
Continuing this custom comes as resistance against their former governing body, the Joint Morris Organisation.
The Nutters split from the umbrella group three years ago following their ruling that members should stop wearing ‘full face black or other skin tone make-up’ as it ‘has the potential to cause deep hurt’.
Britannia Coconut Dancers performed in Bacup, Lancashire this Easter Saturday
Wearing black makeup, the ‘Nutters’ insist it has ‘no connection’ to ‘racial prejudice’
The group claim that the black makeup comes as part of a tradition dating back 150 years
Their decision follows calls for an end to blackface which generally involves white people wearing dark makeup often as a way to portray negative stereotypes of Black people.
However, the Britannia Coconut Dancers claim that their use of black makeup has ‘no connection with ethnicity nor any form of racial prejudice’.
This year, members of the troupe also claimed their event was ‘under threat’ after Rossendale Council said it would no longer provide funding for the procession.
But it did go ahead as planned today after a donation page set up by the Nutters’ supporters raised £905 towards its costs.
Council leader Alyson Barnes said: ‘The large costs associated with road closure for significant events is no longer funded by the police and the council now has to foot the bill.
‘As a result, the council will not be in a financial position to cover the costs associated with road closure for events by the Britannia Coconut Dancers or other community groups.
‘Our expectation from now onwards will be that the Coconutters fund the full costs of their own activities, as we expect of other Rossendale community groups.’
The group split from Joint Morris Organisation after the black makeup was banned
The dancers put made their way through the local town from 9am to 7pm this Easter Saturday
The Joint Morris Organisation said the makeup ‘has the potential to cause deep hurt’