Nick Cannon, black rapper, fires up Twitter with whiteface photo

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Nick Cannon, a black entertainer about to release a new album titled “White People Party Music,” has sparked a social media frenzy by tweeting a photo of himself painted in white makeup — a switch of the old blackface that white actors donned during theatrical performances.

Mr. Cannon, the host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” posted Monday on his Instagram account both photos and videos of himself as a white character named Connor Smallnut, complete with blond hair, a plaid shirt with white T-shirt, a gray skullcap and white makeup on his face and hands.

The photo’s accompanying message: “It’s official… I’m White!!! #WHITEPEOPLEPARTYMUSIC #Wppm in stores April 1st!!!!!!Dude Go Get It!!!Join The Party!!!! #GoodCredit #DogKissing #BeerPong #FarmersMarkets #FistPumping #CreamCheeseEating #RacialDraft ‘Bro I got drafted!!’”

Though some found the photo “hilarious,” Mr. Cannon was lambasted as “racist” and “ignorant” by many Twitter users, with one arguing that others would surely be charged with racism had they done the same using black paint.

Either way, Mr. Cannon said it was all in good fun.

A photo of NBC's "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon in whiteface sparked a furor on social media sites.

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A photo of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon in whiteface ... more >

“It’s funny how people take themselves so seriously,” he tweeted. “People love drama! We feed off of it. Just relax and have fun!!”

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