Woke Diversity Advocates Accuse DJ Of Wearing Blackface. He’s Actually Black.
Crowd at a disco
Richard Newstead via Getty Images

A pair of Arizona diversity advocates who accused a DJ at a disco-themed charity auction of wearing blackface were left with egg on their own faces when the man turned out to be African American.

Stuart Rhoden, an instructor in ASU’s University College, and Jill Lassen, a librarian who serves as co-chair for the Scottsdale Parent Council (SPC), were quick to accuse the Hopi PTA in an undisclosed email of racism based on photos of the April 9 event. One picture showed DJ Koko Kim Hunter joined by other attendees, all of them dressed in 1970’s themed attire, the Arizona Daily Independent reported.

Megan Livengood, head of the Hopi PTA, responded to the pair with an angry email of her own, stating that she was “deeply offended” by the “false and hurtful” accusation.

“The Scottsdale Parent Council is an organization that claims to encourage diversity and inclusion; accusing the Hopi PTA and myself a hiring a DJ that participated in racist behavior is absolutely against your mission,” Livengood wrote. “The DJ that the Hopi PTA hire was, in fact a Black man. It is insulting that you feel myself or PTA condone racist behavior or encourage it by posting on social media. After such a successful event to support our school it’s disheartening to to (sic) believe in organization we pay to be part of (SPC) would send out such an aggressive response without checking the facts first or simply picking up the phone to discuss.”

A contrite Lassen, a self-described “ally to the LGBTQ+ community” who serves as co-chair of the Scottsdale Parents Organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, and has referred to parents as “super rich White Karens,” told Livengood she was sorry for jumping to conclusions.

“You are right, we should’ve reached out and inquired before making such accusations,” Lassen wrote in an email to Livengood. “I cannot fathom the hurt, anger and frustration you felt after you and others volunteered countless hours on your event. Again I truly apologize.”

Lassen’s fellow accuser, Rhoden, “is a member of Scottsdale Unified’s Equity and Inclusion Committee and the Scottsdale Human Relations Commission, which claims to ‘promote all dimensions of diversity’ as an advisory body to the mayor, city council and staff,” the Independent reported.

Rhoden wasn’t apologetic, insisting improbably on Facebook that he never said Hunter was not black and that it was possible that Hunter was a black man wearing blackface.

“Let me be clear, a Black man, apparently in Black face is an entirely different discussion than a White person,” Rhoden wrote. “However, I did not state that the person was White. It was assumed that was my intent, and perhaps it was, but nonetheless, looking on his FB page (photos below), 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.”

Amanda Wray, a Scottsdale Unified School District activist, blasted the SPC, of which Lassen and Rhoden are a part, for the baseless attack on the larger PTA which funds the smaller group.

“The SPC 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 behavior,” Wray said. “This hateful nonsense has to stop. This organization needs to be defunded by every Scottsdale PTA/PTO/APT. If you are an SUSD parent, I encourage you to contact your parent organization and ask that they stop funding this hate group.”

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