UCLA Students Protest After Partygoers Wear Blackface at ‘Kanye’-Themed Frat Party

Veronica Rocha, Los Angeles Times, October 8, 2015

A “Kanye Western”-themed fraternity party at UCLA is causing an uproar for its racial overtones after some partygoers showed up wearing blackface.

Thrown by Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Alpha Phi sorority, students who attended the party Tuesday wore baggy clothes, dressed like the Kardashians and some wore blackface, the Daily Bruin reported.

After photographs of the party surfaced on social media, students expressed concerns that the organizations’ actions were racist and mocked black culture, reigniting the social media hashtag #BlackBruinsMatter.

The Afrikan Student Union is planning to meet at noon Thursday at the campus’ Bruin Bear statue to address what it described as a racial incident. The group is urging students to wear black.

Alicia Frison, a student union member, told The Times a student notified her and other members about the party Tuesday night after photographing some female partygoers who wearing gold and had soot on their faces. Other female partygoers wore large fake butts and were balancing water bottles like Kim Kardashian did for her infamous Paper magazine photoshoot.

After the student took photographs of the partygoers, Frison said someone at the party told the student, “You can’t do that.” Not long after, the party ended at 11 p.m.

As Frison arrived to join group of fellow Black students who standing outside the party, she said she saw a male student wearing blackface.

“The issue isn’t simply about putting on blackface,” she said. “It is also about the entire mockery of Black culture,” she said.

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Sigma Phi Epsilon’s national office says the UCLA fraternity has temporarily suspended activities as it investigates the incident. UCLA said Alpha Phi sorority’s social activities have also been temporaily suspended.

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