Earlier this week, a clip of the Spice Girls appearing on the Dutch TV show “Laat de Leeuw” in 1997 resurfaced online, and it’s full of girl power.
The segment starts out with host Paul De Leeuw bringing some fans onstage to ask the U.K. group some questions. It’s all very nice and sweet. But things take a turn when De Leeuw introduces a group of people dressed as “Zwarte Piet,” aka “Black Pete.”
“Black Pete” is known as a companion to Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) in Dutch culture. He’s also a white person dressed in blackface.
The Spice Girls — Mel B. especially — were not having it.
“I think they shouldn’t paint their faces. You should get proper black people to do it,” she tells Leeuw. “I don’t think that’s very good.”
When Leeuw tries to tell her it’s a cultural tradition, she hits back and tells him to “change it,” because “this is the ‘90s.”
Then Geri Halliwell chimes in with the zinger: “Update your culture!”
You can watch it all go down here:
Here’s an extended video, for your viewing pleasure.
Fans have been loving the clip on Twitter, praising the group
“Black Pete” has received criticism and protest for its racist depiction for some time now. In 2014, Amsterdam ruled that the tradition presented a negative stereotype. For that year’s Sinterklaas festivities, there were reportedly a “substantial” number of Petes with just “soot marks” (signaling that the character climbed down the chimney to deliver presents) and a “white Pete” was present.
As BuzzFeed reports, De Leeuw has since changed his mind about “black Pete” after seeing “12 Years a Slave.”
But really, it was probably all because of The Spice Girls.