Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Alice Peacock

Activists accuse DJ of wearing blackface at school before discovering he's Black

Activists who accused a primary school of racism for hiring a DJ “wearing blackface” have had to backtrack after finding the musician was in fact a Black man.

Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen, the two diversity advocates from Arizona, lambasted the Scottsdale Unified School District’s Hopi Elementary PTA for its decision to hire 56-year–old local DJ Kim Koko Hunter for a charity event.

Both Mr Rhoden and Ms Lassen, who are involved in diversity work in the school district, were informed after their attack that Mr Hunter is, in fact, a Black man, and was not wearing blackface.

According to the Arizona Daily Independent, Hopi PTA president Megan Livengood wrote a message in response to Lassen, confirming that this was the case.

Stuart Rhoden posted on Facebook noting that he believed Hunter had darkened his skin (Stuart Rhoden/LinkedIn)

“It is insulting that you feel myself or PTA condone racist behaviour or encourage it by posting on social media,” she wrote.

Ms Lassen, a librarian, reportedly responded by saying that Ms Livengood was “right”.

“We should’ve reached out and inquired before making such accusations,” she said,

“I cannot fathom the hurt, anger and frustration you felt after you and others volunteered countless hours on your event. Again I truly apologize.”

However Mr Rhoden, who is an instructor at Arizona State University, did not appear as apologetic as Ms Lassen had.

He went on to post a side-by-side image of Mr Hunter on Facebook in a bid to show that the DJ darkened his face even if he is black.

“Let me be clear, a black man, apparently in black face, is an entirely different discussion than a White person,” he wrote on Facebook.

The school district hired Kim Koko Hunter for a charity event in Arizona (@kimkokohunter/Instagram)

“However… it seems at the very least he is in darker make-up if not ‘Black face’ or I am completely mistaken and it’s the lighting of the patio.”

Ms Lassen is a co-chair of the Scottsdale Parent Council diversity, equity and inclusion committee, while Mr Rhoden is a member of the district’s Equity and Inclusion Committee.

According to a Facebook Live hosted by Mr Hunter, an organiser called someone he works with following the event, to ask if he was Black.

Mr Hunter dressed up for the event (@kimkokohunter/Instagram)

Mr Hunter said they had clearly thought that he had been in black face.

“Wait a minute, in their defense,” he said to his friend who was on the Facebook Live with him, “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,” he said, laughing.

Hunter went on to ridicule the accusation that he was a black man doing blackface, asking if he was “not Black enough”.

“How black do I got to be for people to know that I’m an actual Black person,” he said.

Mr Rhoden did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.