I FINALLY started watching The Mandelorian. Yes. I know. It’s about time ( – for those of you who are into Star Wars. I don’t care to those of you who aren’t. I write the facts, which means I also write the lead ins). Because I am an old, I have been watching Star Wars for a Long Time. The first one premiered when I was but a wee lass, and I loved them every since. Speaking of, y’all remember when people, who were racist, went completely apesh*t, over John Boyega being a Black Storm Trooper. Because “hOw cAN a bLaCk bE in sPaCE?”. And it always reminds me of this moment in Psych which, was one of my favorite shows:

Which I’m sure makes you think this fact is about Dule Hill, but it’s not. It’s about Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry. That is all one person. He’s better known by the stage name Stephin Fetchit. He was an American vaudevillian, comedian, and film actor who is considered to be the first Black actor to have been billed in a movie AND the first Black actor to have a successful film career.

In his teens, Perry became a comic character actor. By the age of 20, Perry had become a vaudeville artist and the manager of a traveling carnival show. His stage name was a contraction of “step and fetch it”. His accounts of how he adopted the name varied, but generally he claimed that it originated when he performed a vaudeville act with a partner. Perry won money betting on a racehorse named “Step and Fetch It”, and his partner and he decided to adopt the names “Step” and “Fetchit” for their act. When Perry became a solo act, he combined the two names, which later became his professional name*.

Perry played comic-relief roles in a number of films, all based on his character known as the “Laziest Man in the World” (whew. THE WAY MY EYEBALLS ROLLED AROUND IN MY HEAD. He signed a five-year studio contract following his performance in the film, In Old Kentucky (1927). The film’s plot included a romantic connection between Perry and actress Carolynne Snowden, a subplot that was a rarity for Black actors appearing in a White film during this era.Perry also starred in Hearts in Dixie (1929), one of the first studio productions to boast a predominantly Black cast. By the mid-30’s, Perry was the first Black actor to become a millionaire, and appeared in 44 films between 1927 and 1939. Chile they was workin’ him like…you know what? Nevermind.

Anyway. In 1940, he stopped appearing in films because he could not get equal pay and billing with his white costars. He returned in 1945 ‘cause bills bills bills, but ended up declaring bankruptcy in 1947. After 1953, Perry appeared in cameos in TV shows and feature films but found himself in conflict with civil rights leaders who criticized him for film roles that he portrayed/was offered because Hollywood LOVES a stereotype. In more recent years though, his character was re-evaluated by scholars who viewed his character as the embodiment of the trickster stereotype.

So there you go! A fact about a man whose stage name was literally just a phrase for “shuckin’ and jivin’ for the white man” and they just…went with it.

*type of stereotypical black roles in Hollywood.