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Macklemore performs surprise show in offensive costume

Who thought this was a good idea? 


Miles Klee


Posted on May 18, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 7:16 am CDT

I can’t pretend I’ve ever understood the appeal of Macklemore, but the rapper’s latest attempt at pop spectacle has me more befuddled than ever.

For a surprise set celebrating a new exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project Museum on Friday night, he opted to perform dressed as some kind of Jewish caricature, prosthetic schnozz included.

RT @realjoshlewis you couldn’t hold @macklemore down at #empvivid tonight!

— Alex Japhet (@A_Japhet) May 17, 2014

this is so racist that seeing it is like wafting smelling salts under your nose

— Degenerate Gandhi (@Bro_Pair) May 19, 2014

Seattle Weekly guessed that the Semitic “disguise” was meant to keep Macklemore from “being mobbed,” though given that his makeup had begun to melt by the end of his 15 minutes on stage, we rather doubt it. At any rate, he chose the look for himself:

Yes, Seattle, this is Macklemore. “Went to Costume Display today and I feel like a man for the first time” #empvivid

— Lynn Jacobson (@lynnjacobson) May 17, 2014

Macklemore’s relationship with Judaism is an enduringly odd one: While some self-appointed experts claim he’s one of god’s Chosen people, the man himself denies such ancestry (while continuing, for some reason, to appropriate its signifiers).

RT @morgaaaann: @macklemore are you Jewish or what <- nah. Just got hella good Jewish homies

— Macklemore (@macklemore) April 21, 2013

You can check out a full gallery of close-up concert photos from KOMO News over here. Just don’t expect them to reveal why this happened, or whether anyone in attendance was significantly offended. Could it be that no one in a city famed for its political correctness wanted to bother with backlash? If so, this weirdo is far more powerful than we feared.   

Thank you #Mackelmore for a great concert at the EMP tonight. #EMPvivid #Seattle

— Rachelle Whitman ✈ (@artistpoint) May 17, 2014

Update: Since this story began getting traction, Macklemore has pleaded naïveté and suffered a third-degree burn courtesy of Seth Rogen. The best possible outcome, surely.

A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.

— Macklemore (@macklemore) May 19, 2014

.@macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?

— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 18, 2014

Photo by The Come Up Show/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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*First Published: May 18, 2014, 3:35 pm CDT