This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Partygoers Wore Blackface To 'Kanye'-Themed Frat Party At UCLA, Students Say
A UCLA fraternity and sorority are drawing protests for hosting a 'Kanye Western'-themed party where some students say partygoers wore blackface and other racially-charged costumes.
The party, thrown by Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority, took place on Tuesday night, reports the Daily Bruin. Students said party guests dressed to imitate rapper Kayne West and members of the Kardashian family, wearing baggy clothes, and "plumped lips and padded bottoms,” while others allegedly covered their foreheads with charcoal. Kelsee Thomas, a member of UCLA's Afrikan Student Union (ASU), told the L.A. Times that some students confronted fraternity members at the party. And while one member reportedly apologized, he then laughed when the students asked if he would write a letter to the ASU. Thomas told the Daily Bruin, “It’s extremely disrespectful for any organization at all to think that this is possibly a good idea,” Thomas said. “I understand the play on words, but there are so many other ways (to dress) to fit that.”
UCLA is currently investigating the incident, and told NBC Los Angeles, “While we do not yet have all the facts, the alleged behavior is inconsistent with good judgment as well as our principles of community.”
The national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon has said that the UCLA fraternity has suspended all activities pending investigation. “Building diverse and inclusive communities is core to our identity as an organization, and we have zero tolerance for racist behavior,” Beaux Carriere, the organization’s spokesman, shared in a statement to the Times. “Sigma Phi Epsilon will continue to work with the university and UCLA community to investigate these claims and hold students accountable for any inappropriate behavior.”
After photos from the party were posted to social media, the incident began drawing intense online criticism for actions that some are calling racist and mocking black culture, according to the Times. The Afrikan Student Union has planned a protest for noon on Thursday at the campus’ Bruin Bear statue to address the issue publicly. Meanwhile, many have spoken out online using the hashtag #BlackBruinsMatter.
Apparently not everyone shares the same sentiment as UCLA basketball player Tony Parker shares on Twitter:
BlackFace was an act to make fun of African features and slaves and it was extremely racial and that party was not at all can't compare— tony parker (@tonyparker32) October 8, 2015