Nick Cannon Under Fire For Wearing Whiteface

Nick Cannon Under Fire For Wearing Whiteface

It's the controversial photo of America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon in whiteface that's stirring up a storm of controversy.

Online comments are calling Cannon, who's married to Mariah Carey, "racist" and "ignorant."

A headline on VanityFair.com was: “Nick Cannon Tries on White Face, The World Cringes."

Cannon shared the shot on Instagram with the joke: "It's official... I'm white!!!" He also posted short videos and gave his white alter ego an offensive last name we couldn't mention on air. It's all to promote an upcoming album called White People Party Music.

Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill is actually coming to Cannon's defense.

He told INSIDE EDITION, "Nick Cannon's decision to put himself in whiteface was interesting, provocative, and it was fun. It opened the door to a lot of good conversation."

Lamont Hill also points out that there's a big difference between dressing in whiteface, like the Wayans brothers did in the 2004 movie White Chicks, and dressing in blackface, a misjudgement that caused embarrassment for actress Julianne Hough last Halloween.

Lamont Hill said, "One comes out of history of oppression and racism. The other rarely gets done and when it does get done, it doesn't reflect oppression or racism, it is just comedy. It might not be the best choice, but it is not coming from the same spirit."

Cannon responded to the outrage: "duuuude everybody chil-lax!!!!"

He also posted a photo of Robert Downey Jr.'s blackface character from the movie Tropic Thunder with a caption: "This is one of my favorite characters of all time! Hilarious!!! There is a big difference between Humor and Hatred."