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Home Arts & Entertainment Originally published March 02, 2012

Blackface Impersonation Would Not Have Offended Sammy Davis Jr., Daughter Says

Billy Crystal Had Her Father’s Blessing

by AFRO Staff

    Billy Crystal (AP Photo)
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Billy Crystal's controversial impersonation of Sammy Davis Jr. at this year's Academy Awards would not have offended the famous Black entertainer, says performer’s daughter who said her father would have enjoyed the Blackface routine.

"I am 100 percent certain that my father is smiling," Tracey Davis, 50, told the Hollywood Reporter. "Billy previously played my father when he was alive, and my father gave Billy his full blessing." Crystal had portrayed the Rat Pack member in numerous bits on "Saturday Night Live."

Throughout the award show, Crystal parodied numerous films including "Moneyball," "The Help" and "The Descendants." Then, during a sketch about Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" with singer Justin Bieber, Crystal popped up in black makeup as Sammy Davis Jr.

After the bit, angry viewers took to Twitter to voice their frustrations. According to the Associated Press, comedian Paul Scheer’s tweet linked the impersonation to Octavia Spencer’s best supporting actress award for her work in "The Help." "Shows just how far we've come since Billy Crystal performed in Blackface," Scheer wrote.

Davis explained that she took issue with the term "Blackface," that was used to describe Crystal's impersonation, but added that she has nothing but love for the actor who emceed the awards show Feb. 26.

"I know the mutual love, respect and admiration that you had for each other and for his kids, Jeff, Mark and I," Davis told the Reporter. "Thank you."