Andres Iniesta: Former Barcelona midfielder criticised for posing with two people in blackface

Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has been criticised after posting a photograph of himself with two people in blackface as part of Epiphany celebrations in Spain.

Iniesta, 34, posed with his wife, two of his children and a group dressed in costumes related to Three Kings Day.

Two of the group are painted black – the role of Balthazar is often played by a white man in blackface in Spain.

Iniesta, who plays for Vissel Kobe in Japan, has not responded to criticism.

« I love Iniesta like few other public figures, let alone athletes, he seems a supremely humble man and team-mate, » said journalist and author Musa Okwonga.

« I just wonder how you can share a dressing room and so many trophies with Eric Abidal and Dani Alves and still not realise this is not cool. It’s very disappointing. »

BBC Radio 1 Extra presenter Nick Bright said: « I cannot believe in 2019 famous people are still doing or are around people doing ‘blackface’ and tweeting it, where are your friends Iniesta?!

« Didn’t anyone say, ‘Andres, I don’t think this is the one bro’. »

Three Kings Day is an important Christian festive tradition on 6 January in Spain that commemorates the visit of magi Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar to the newborn baby Jesus.

Large parades are held in cities in Spain on 5 January and the Kings are usually councillors, most of whom are white, so Balthazar is frequently played by a white man in black makeup.

However, the mayor of Madrid Manuela Carmena ended that controversial tradition in 2016 by employing a black man to portray the role.

Source: BBC

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