Late in the musical, Bert has a tense exchange with Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a Black reporter chronicling Black lynchings across America. She blames Bert for perpetuating racial stereotypes and supporting a dehumanized vision of people of color. After she leaves, Bert is left feeling much sicker, both physically and spiritually. While putting on the burnt cork makeup for his performance that night, he questions his choices and culpability. (Can’t see the video? Click here.)
Content Warning: This song depicts racist ideas and language of the time and may be offensive or upsetting to listeners.