Nick Cannon defends whiteface makeup in support of 'White People Party Music' album

As part of promoting his new album "White

As part of promoting his new album "White People Party Music," "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon donned whiteface. (Credit: Nick Cannon via Instagram)

Singer-actor and "America's Got Talent" host Nick Cannon is defending his decision to promote his new album by putting on whiteface makeup and assuming the identity of a Caucasian man.

"It's official . . . I'm White!" Cannon, 33, tweeted in support of his upcoming album "White People Party Music," linking to an Instagram image of himself in whiteface with light-brown hair and a gray and beige flannel shirt over a white T-shirt.

Hours earlier he had told Us Weekly, "You go to a party and white people are having more fun than anybody. They know how to have a good time! I could have named the album Purple People Party Music and you'd still get the same album, but it was just one of those things. You know, you deal with things like race, and people get uptight, so why not?"

The stunt created controversy, with Arienne Thompson, the African-American host of USA Today's online "Daily Dish" webcast, calling it "not funny at all" and "horrible. Whiteface, blackface -- none of that is ever funny." Vanity Fair titled its weekly celebrity-Instagram roundup "Nick Cannon Tries on White Face, the World Cringes." E! tweeted, "Nick Cannon in whiteface . . . we have no words."

"Damn, I didn't know it was going to be this hard being White! I'm exhausted with all this 'privilege' LOL #WhitePeopleProblems," Cannon later tweeted. Mimicking a critic, he wrote, " 'I think we should have a million white man march and protest @NickCannon album!! Somebody call @rushlimbaugh' LOL. I love this conversation though. It's showing a lot of people's true colors . . . #punintended."

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