Diversity activists accuse primary school of hiring blackface DJ – only to learn he is black

Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen made the comments after seeing local DJ Kim Koko Hunter at a Hope Elementary School event

Published

A pair of diversity activists who accused a primary school of racism for hiring a blackface DJ have been left embarrassed after learning he was black.

Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen hit out at the parent teacher association (PTA) of Hopi Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, US, after seeing images of local DJ Kim Koko Hunter at a 1970s-themed event.

But it was then pointed out to them that Mr Hunter was in fact black.

PTA President Megan Livengood wrote to Ms Lassen saying: “The DJ that the Hopi PTA hired was, in fact, a black man.

local DJ Kim Koko Hunter
local DJ Kim Koko Hunter
Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen hit out at the parent teacher association (PTA) of Hopi Elementary School for the incident
Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen hit out at the parent teacher association (PTA) of Hopi Elementary School for the incident

“It is insulting that you feel myself or [the] PTA condone racist behaviour.”

Ms Lassen responded by 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.”

But Mr Rhoden chose to somewhat defend his accusations: “Let me be clear, a black man, apparently in blackface, is an entirely different discussion than a white person.

“However, I did not state the person was white. It was assumed that was my intent, and perhaps it was, but nonetheless, looking on (Mr Hunter’s) Facebook page, it seems at the very least he is in darker makeup. 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. I also apologise to folks who reposted and made other statements based on my assumption.”

When told about the incident, Mr Hunter said: “Was I not black enough? How black do I got to be for people to know that I’m an actual black person.

“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.”

While Phoenix school district’s Amanda Wray said: “The council is so intent on finding racism they will go so far as to accuse a member of one of the communities they claim to advocate for of reprehensible behaviour. This hateful nonsense has to stop.”