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Halloween Costume Gone Wrong! White Tesco Worker Dressed as Black ‘Big Momma’ Sparks Controversy




Mary Holtz (left) Martin Lawrence (right)

Was she being a racist? Or was it just an innocent Halloween costume?

This is the question many are asking after a white employee, Mary Holtz, of Tesco in the UK, went to work dressed as the ‘Big Momma’ character,  from Martin Lawrence’s hit comedy, Big Momma’s House. She painted her face, neck, and hands black to pull off the look.

Management at the store subsequently sent her home to change after a customer, Natalie Fitzpatrick, took to social media to complain.

According to Daily Mail, Fitzpatrick wrote on Facebook:

“Whilst I embrace the spirit of Hallowe’en, can you please explain to me what this staff member has come dressed as… I started out shocked, then a tad uncomfortable before feeling over-sensitive. Now I’m bloody furious and even more so because I questioned myself over the poor choices of YOUR staff. Really keen to understand the thought process behind this outfit and what consideration went into it before management decided it was okay.”

In response, Holtz’s daughter also took to social media to defend her mother stating that her mom isn’t racist, and her outfit was only in the spirit of Halloween.


What do you think?

Photo Credit: Facebook/


  1. Ivie

    November 2, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Come on, It’s just Halloween! Some people can be over sensitive

    • ak

      November 3, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      @Nahum and co calling this woman racist.

      How are you sure she even knows the roots of black-face? As far as she is concerned, she is playing dress-up and imitating Big Momma.

      IMHO, I truly don’t think it is racist. She is imitating and dressed up as a popular TV character- Big Momma…

      If she were dressed up as just any other black person and wore racially motivated clothing/ stereotypical characterizations, then that would be racism.

      MMMKAY? Now please have several seats and let people enjoy dressing up as famous characters.

  2. leoleo

    November 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    The look on big mama’s (Martin Lawrence) face says it all

  3. Uju

    November 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    She embraces the spirit of Halloween abi? Good luck with that

    • Odinaka

      November 2, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      As in

  4. Nahum

    November 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Please, people that have not left the shores of this country and experienced racism first hand should not even comment. To answer your question BN, you should give your readers a history of “black face”. This woman used the spirit of Halloween to mock black people. All this foolish defense is a waste of time. A white person who is truly not racist, will NEVER put on black face because they know the racist history of it. So, YES this was very racist.

  5. Taiwo

    November 2, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Soooooo, what about those white folks who dress up as Michael Jackson? Are they being racist too???

  6. Bey

    November 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    This is probably innocent……..Trya Banks dressed up as Richard Branson, skinned lightened with make up n all,. Is she also racist?

    • Ermhhhhh...

      November 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm


      The reverse of everything doesn’t always equate to the same thing. If I dressed up as a disabled person for halloween, that would be considered offensive. But if a disabled person dressed up as any other fully-abled person, not so much.

      Hence, if a white person dresses up as a black person, it can be perceived as offensive, simply based on history/racism (which is still very much alive). While if a black person does the reverse (as Tyra did), it wouldn’t be considered inappropriate as there’s no undertone of mockery because there’s no pre-existing culture of maltreatment/injustice in that direction (from blacks to whites)

      Hopefully this makes some sense, too tired to be trying to sound like a

    • Ermhhhhh...

      November 2, 2015 at 5:56 pm

      And I agree with you that it’s probably just innocent. But with these things it’s difficult to tell, as no one can see the heart behind it (that’s why it’s best not to do such things as I’m sure she knew it’ll be somewhat controversial).

      So yes blacks can be overly sensitive, because not everything is racism. BUT, I can’t blame them, because A LOT of things that happen are indeed racially motivated.

  7. Violet

    November 2, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Black people play the victim card everytime.
    We can be overly sensitive…
    If you look at them in a certain way, they play the racist card..
    Its halloween for crying out loud.
    Would you rather ‘a big momma with a white face’?
    Let it rest abeg!!!

  8. Idomagirl

    November 2, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I think you people should read up on “blackface” to understand why many find it offensive.

    • JADE

      November 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      well i googled blackface and it showed me plantashun boyz

  9. Person

    November 2, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Don’t wear blackface. It’s simple.

  10. C'mon Bellanaija

    November 2, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    @Bellanaija If you want meaningful discourse on race relations, I think it is your responsibility to provide context for your readers. The average Nigerian who isnt in diaspora may not know the history of “blackface”, what it is and what it stands for and may therefore not understand why the above situation is offensive. So you’re going to get uninformed comments like the ones above asking what is there. If you are posting these stories for the hell of it, okay. But when you are asking readers to weigh in, please consider in totality the audience you are reaching. Keep in mind that racism is not really a “Nigerian” struggle. Or so many people think. Many Nigerians are faced squarely with racism only when they have to interact with white people. The every day person in Nigeria doesn’t deal with racism on a daily basis. There are several other struggles, but not racism. As a result, many do not understand it and exactly what it entails. It is either you provide a background, some kind of context or you leave these issues alone all together.

    • Bey

      November 2, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      Yadayadayada……………….. There are hardly BN readers who don’t know what black face is. This is freaking 2015, yes there is racism, just like so many freaking problems out dere in the world. Poverty,disease,abuse. Can people just blame themselves for their own problems and their own inadequacies instead of blaming it on the colour of their skin always. If you have to work harder than d average white person, damn it work harder. If you need to be prettier, be pretty, if you have to run, run faster. And if u don’t like it, so many places in d world you can relocate to. Nigeria being one.

    • Ehhh

      November 3, 2015 at 5:49 am

      Hey bey speak for yourself i dnt knwwat it is n im jst hearing it frd first time n i live outside naija. Racism is veryyyyyy real out here so pleas Bella naija educate ur audience if u want them weighn in on stff. Some nigerians will sit in naija to b discussing affaies of those in diaspora like dey know d half of it. E ma bi mi nu jare

  11. Iris

    November 2, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    What I don’t get is why people keep doing this. Do they live under a rock? Whether or not it was meant to be in good fun, whether or not blackface should be controversial, people do not like it. People will criticise it. Therefore, stop doing it! How hard is that?

  12. ATL's finest

    November 2, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I know it’s Halloween & I don’t celebrate it but why will I dress up as a white person on this day of ALL costumes in this world huh??? Well ok whatever she says.

  13. i no send

    November 2, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    i have actually experienced racism but i would also say black people need to lighten up its not everything that is tied to racism..when my guy snoop paints his face white i think the whites also should have raised an objection

  14. Miss CaramelD

    November 2, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Here we go folks ( a little history)

    • Taiwo

      November 2, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks for the info. I now understand why it is offensive, Very offensive as a matter of fact

    • Odinaka

      November 2, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      Shocking in 2015 ppl still don’t know why a pic like this is offensive but you know how to take a selfie. Issorai.

  15. DrkNite

    November 2, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    LOL! Great costume.

  16. Truth

    November 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Before you comment, go and read about blackface/ministrel. It is wrong. You can dress up as a black person without painting yourself black
    BN, please give your readers who have never left Nigeria a brief history of blackface, so they can understand.
    We are luck that we are black in a homogenous country.

  17. Tosin

    November 2, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    leave matter.
    my black women be dressed in whiteface all day in Nigeria, soooo, arrest them first 😀

    (if I was in Yankee, i might say different because history of racism etc, but i’ve been in situations with legit blackface i.e. shows in which a person needed to be painted to match their character or whatever.)

  18. Kmer sista

    November 2, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Beyonce and husband went out as Prince Akeem of Zamunda and Lisa McDowell from Coming to America,..IS IT ALSO RACIST???

    • Sadia

      November 2, 2015 at 8:43 pm

      Ehmmm kmer sista Beyonce and jay z are black thoughhh!!!!!!!

    • Kmer sista

      November 3, 2015 at 2:31 am

      I know…And that is why I asked this question to state the obvious. If one of us (us refers to the black people all over the world) can consider the traditionnal african outfit as an Halloween costume, I don’t understand why this caucasian woman can’t do so with the common outfit of american black mamas. Toom much double standard for me…We are always pointing the fingers at others, but even within our “community” if I may say so, there is so much self hate going on. And my point is to say that we should FIGHT on both fields….If ever we are really fighting to EARN the respect we all deserve as human being: the other should respect us AND we should respect and value ourselves…In proper order, it should start from within…

    • Odinaka

      November 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Erm they are all black. Mary Holtz is Anglo Saxon so gerrarahere mehn!

  19. Las

    November 2, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    I don’t have the strength, abeg…sometimes we just need to let things be.

  20. Natu

    November 2, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    @taiwo You can dress like mj but do not paint your face black. Pick up a book and read to reduce your ignorance. Your education system has clearly failed you. This is blackface and as an African you should be angry!!!

    • Taiwo

      November 3, 2015 at 8:38 am

      If you had take your time to read what i wrote in response [email protected], I’m pretty certain you wouldn’t have wasted your precious data being nasty
      But what do I know? you just may be wired that way (bitchy)

  21. mabel

    November 2, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Kai Oyibo can control blacks with remote sha. They know how to get blacks all sensitive and defensive. Choi. Now who will have headache? You are responsible for how you feel. If you like go around looking for what will make you feel sad or be happy. Or even feel indifferent. I’m sure she was not the only black that saw that. But she chose to have headache. The same it’s racism everyday, only complain on social media and that’s the end. Another day, another Oyibo decides to use the remote control again, another black gets upset, off to social media and there it ends. Bottom line, some people will want to see you sad, don’t give them that.

  22. Opinion

    November 3, 2015 at 12:37 am

    There are 2 issues here….intention and outcome. Being UK based, she might just be just as uninformed as many on this thread who have no idea of what the “blackface” is and what it signifies. So she might’ve done it light heartedly…we can’t prove her intentions.

    However, it is definitely offensive. I don’t even get the notion of using “black” whatever it was to begin with. Was it paint or charcoal or engine oil?
    Why can’t she put in some effort and wear nice brown Mac powder…..which black person looks this hideous?……if someone tried to dress like you and came out looking like an ojuju monster won’t you be offended?

    Anyway for those of you insensitive and judgemental blacks out there calling your fellow brethren touchy….you need to school yourselves on the long and sadly still existing journey of racism and discrimination. Be grateful for your clueless ass African heritage.

  23. mike doe

    November 3, 2015 at 12:43 am

    this is as innocent as it gets…you have to be really damaged psychologically to think otherwise

    • matter of fact

      November 3, 2015 at 3:56 am

      Mike doe ….and you have to be ignorant as heck to not understand the other side of things.

  24. larz

    November 3, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Even in the court of law, before someone can be jailed for a crime, you gotta show intent and action. Could it be that all this woman is guilty of is being clueless? I live in the UK and I am black and this black face issue is news to me. Yes I will read up on it but NO, I have never read about this. So please lets give this woman the benefit of the doubt. Lets condemn the action but not necessarily the action because there is a very strong chance that all she is guilty of is being clueless and ignorant. Yes, her action was offensive but to be considered racist, there has to be intent.

    Another thing, Americans spend a lot of time teaching their kids about their history, civil movement etc. It is common knowledge what is and isn’t acceptable. Not much so in the UK. The pains and suffering of black and other minorities is unfortunately not commonly taught to all at elementary level.

  25. Mostest

    November 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    The problem with black people is that we have refused to let go. Slavery and racism are 2 different things. Slavery is done with, dead and buried (hollup! Is it really? Do many of us not still have underage children cleaning up after us, do we not have wards still torturing young children in the name of house girl, do we not still have several madames enslaving young girls abroad forcing them into sex?) sigh. Slavery has been abolished. Now racism, it is alive and thriving. Just like we read history books on what our ANCESTORS endured, having been sold by our own leaders, alas, the white man is also teaching his kids that they are superior to blacks, that we used to be their slaves. What does that do? It’s a vicious cycle, we teach our kids of the wickedness of whites and hate them(wonder if that makes us feel inferior), they teach their kids that we are slaves(superior). Question is what are we doing to change it? The Jews suffered the worst genocide in history, are they crying about it and wallowing in self pity? Is their success not largely attributed to their unity and support for one another? Where are the billionaire black population and how are they empowering their people? They are fraternizing with the Caucasians making them richer? Could that have anything to do with feeling inferior and the need for acceptance by Caucasians? We complain of racism is sports, the arts, Grammy snubs, why are we seeking their validation? Why not create ours? The diaspora people, una weldone o. Hope you’re paying your taxes promptly and developing the white mans land? Oh you’re a citizen? Good luck to you. White people do more humanitarian work in africa than the entire black community. Amongst ourselves we talk of light skin, African Americans themselves feel superior to Africans. Some don’t even know africa is a continent. We flock daily to America and co seeking greener pastures, when the white man knows africa is the next big thing. We need to do better and stop crying about the treatment meted on us when we cannot change our attitude and mentality. We are deepening the divide everyday. Drugs, crime etc is still prevalent in our own community. We won’t go to school but choose to work for minimum wage. Our leaders is a whole discussion for another day. Black face, blue face, green face, it’s all Halloween. Oh, and where is Halloween in our history books???

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