UNLIKE Britain which phased out the ‘black and white minstrels’ many years ago, Madrid has only just decided to recruit, for the first time, a black man to play King Balthazar in the annual Three Kings Parade.
Always in the past, a white man has ‘blacked up’ to play the part and despite requests by local African groups for a change, no notice was taken. Now, however, the new government of Madrid led by Manuela Carmena has accepted the demands of a petition presented by the Socialist party.
Socialist councillor Mar Espinar said “It is a new step toward the normalisation and integration of all peoples, races and cultures that make up the Madrid melting pot. Fortunately, this anachronism will be left behind by next Christmas.”
Other councils around Spain have used Africans in this highly popular parade which recalls the bringing of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus and Madrid seems pleased to be following suit.