Nate Hill’s White Ambassador Critiques Twitter Racism in Harlem

11.28.11 Marina Galperina

NYC’s Nate Hill takes Harlem with his new piece The White Ambassador. What’s with the white face, you ask? Earlier this year, Hill has set up a WhiteSmellBot on Twitter that is now retweeting about 80 “white people smell like” stereotypes a day. As a biracial performance artist, he’s headed out to confront these bytes of cyber racism. See the video for some tense discourse.

Hill explains:

Black people are racist too. They need to deal with that. All white people don’t stink. Wake up and smell the damp, white hair. I have some in a plastic bag. Then sign my petition.

So he walked the streets with a clipboard, a bag of white person’s hair for sampling and an umbrella, presumably to protect his delicate ahem ahem complexion. He chanted “We are white. We smell alright” and loudly proclaimed that unlike the stereotypes curated by his Twitter bot, white people do not smell like Cheetos or hot dog water or other things more offending to the senses/your feelings, white people.

This video gets particularly tense when Nate is forced to “break character” and explain his project and his biracial background to the passerby who seem, at first, unamused with the performance. The discourse transpires next is more interesting than oh so many things you hear at Chelsea gallery openings.

When’s the next one?

(Video and Photos: Tod Seelie)