Lee Students Apologize For Donning Blackface Costumes


Kerri Klenkel and Laura Jones, students at Lee University in Tennessee, have apologized for sporting a blackface for Theta Delta Kappa's rap-themed party last week. The costume that included long white T-shirts with the title of a popular rap song by YG (My N) caused huge uproar once the photo was posted online Saturday.

Vice President of University Relations Jerome Hammond said that the female students did not realise that their costume would appear offensive. They were also not aware of the history of blackface.

"Our intention was not to offend anyone in any way. Therefore we are deeply sorry for those we have upset," the students said in the apology, Miami Herald reports.

The university condemned the incident and issued a statement stating:

"Recently two of our students behaved in a way that was not only profoundly regrettable, but also deeply hurtful to many people, including fellow classmates. Although we believe that their actions arose out of ignorance regarding the historical implications of blackface and not a willful intent to wound others, they nonetheless had that effect. We are confident that some difficult lessons have been learned as a result of these impulsive actions."

The controversial costume received mixed reactions from the campus community. Some found it insulting and racist while others thought it was not a big deal and comical.

"I don't know. I guess they did it as a joke. Our generation is like the funny generation. It was just like a joke or something. I don't think it was meant to be racist or anything," said Cierra McShine, a black Lee University student, News Channel 9reports.

Speaking about the N-word on the shirts, Aliyah Gowdy, a student, said "I use it, and my friends use it as well. But it's not intelligent for us to use it, especially because I am black myself," said. "But, I mean, I guess we can't judge others if we use it ourselves."

Blackface is often donned by white performers to negatively portray blacks.

Recently, actress Julianne Hough also issued an apology for sporting a blackface Halloween costume. Imitating Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren from the 'Orange Is the New Black,' series, the former 'Dancing With the Stars' pro was seen dressed in an orange jump suit, a prison tag, and a blackface.

Reacting to the costume, Uzo Aduba, the actress who actually portrays Suzzane on the comedy-drama series, said that it was an 'unfortunate situation.'

"She [Julianne] has apologized, and let's just move on. Let's move on. There [are] other things we can talk about like Season 2 of Orange," Wet Paint reports.

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