You’d think that folks would know by now that donning Blackface in YouTube videos will not go down well, but one fraternity in California clearly didn’t get the memo.
NBC 4 Los Angeles reports that several members from Lambda Theta Delta, an Asian-American fraternity at University of California, Irvine, made a video in which they danced and lip sync to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie.” Fifty-five seconds into the two-minute video, a man donning Blackface appeared, supposedly portraying hip hop star Jay-Z.
The fraternity’s president, Darius Obana, says that his chapter has been accused of racism. An accusation he firmly denies. He says the person wearing Blackface in the video is a UC Irvine junior who was “just trying to be Jay-Z.” Students interviewed over the incident did not agree.
The university’s vice chancellor told NBC 4 that his office has fielded complaints from the Black Student Union and has launched an investigation into the incident. Though the office is treating it as a “teaching moment.”
Obana said the fraternity apologized for the video on its website and has reached out to the Black Student Union.
One of the latest incidents of someone wearing Blackface came out of New York City, when state Assemblyman Dov Hikind donned it during a Jewish celebration at his home in February. After a few days of denying he had done anything wrong, Hikind was forced to apologize.