Use of Blackface to Portray Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé in Polish TV Impersonation Competition Under Investigation, Says Spokesperson

Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo, the Polish iteration of the international reality competition Your Face Sounds Familiar, will undergo an internal investigation following the use of blackface in a recent episode.

Banjiay Group, the French parent company of Endemol Shine Poland — the impersonation series’ local producer — condemned the appearance of the historically racist practice originating in the U.S. of darkening one’s skin on the show, alongside the use of the N-word in one contestant’s performance.

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“Banijay condemns Endemol Shine Poland’s local execution of Your Face Sounds Familiar, which contradicts our group’s global values,” a spokesperson shared in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “A subsequent internal investigation is underway and the appropriate measures will be taken.”

The show, which originated in Spain in 2011, sees contestants impersonating various musicians via musical performances. In a recent episode, two performers — singer Kuba Szmajkowski and actress Pola Gonciarza — appeared as Kendrick Lamar and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, respectively. Szmajkowski, who won the second episode of the show’s 19th series, rapped Lamar’s hit “Humble” in a performance that saw him use the N-word while wearing an imitation of cornrows. Gonciarza also darkened her skin while performing Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy.”

Since the episode aired, fans of both Lamar and Beyoncé have come out against the contestants and show, condemning all for its racist depictions. Both Szmajkowski and Gonciarza published multiple posts to their social media capturing their criticized looks, though neither has addressed the controversy publicly.

This is not the first time Twoja Twarz Brzmi Znajomo or the Your Face Sounds Familiar franchise has created controversy through its use of blackface. In 2021, the Czech edition banned its contestants from doing it, while that same year, actor Tomasz Ciachorowski performed Kanye West’s “Stronger,” also in blackface, during an episode of the Polish spinoff.

According to The Guardian, the Polish production company released a statement claiming it was “very surprised” by the backlash.

“The intention of each star performing on the show, as well as of the whole production team, is to recreate the original performance in the most precise manner, while honoring the original artist,” the statement continued.

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