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Diversity campaigners accuse black DJ of wearing blackface
19 April 2022, 10:59 | Updated: 19 April 2022, 11:04
Diversity campaigners accused a primary school of racism for hiring a DJ who wore blackface, only to discover the man was black.
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Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen complained after seeing images of Kim Koko Hunter at a 1970s themed parent-teacher association (PTA) event at a Phoenix primary school.
The pair are members of the school district equity and inclusion committee at Hopi Elementary School.
The Arizona Daily Independent reported that Megan Livengood, the PTA president, wrote to them to say the man "was, in fact, a black man".
"It is insulting that you feel myself or PTA condone racist behaviour or encourage it by posting on social media," she added.
Ms Lassen, a librarian, apologised, saying: "You are right, we should've inquired before making such accusations.
"I cannot fathom the hurt, anger and frustration you felt after you and others volunteered countless hours on your event."
However, Mr Rhoden, who is black, defended his stance, posting two images of Mr Hunter on Facebook alongside each other in an attempt to show he had made his face darker.
Mr Rhonden, who teaches at Arizona State University, wrote: "I did not state the person was white. It was assumed that was my intent, and perhaps it was, but nonetheless... it seems at the very least he is in darker make-up... if not blackface. Or I am completely mistaken and it’s the patio lighting.
"So I apologise to this dude for the implication, but the sentiment stands - blackface by anyone, in this day and age, is problematic."
Mr Hunter appeared to laugh the incident off, responding: "In their defence, how many chips in the ice cream did you see? They were probably thinking the same thing I am: Wow, there are no black people here."