A Beyonce Tribute singer who “blacked up” for her performance at the yearly May Ball at Robinson College, sparked outrage among students, prompting the college to apologize.

The Incident

A Beyonce Tribute singer, Leanne Harper, who usually darkens her skin to look more like the pop singer performed at Robinson College’s annual May Ball on Friday, sparking an outrage among students. This prompted the college to apologize for booking her in the first place.

The website for the event said: “As the sun sets on Friday 16th June the Night Circus will arrive at Robinson College for one night and one night only. Step into a world of magic and mystery and explore the enchanted delights on offer as dreams become reality. Dining, dancing and dazzling decorations will make you wish that the night could last forever…”

Comments On the Performer

Immediately as the singer took the stage, students started taking to social media to express their thoughts. The incoming Women’s Officer for CUSU, Lola Olufemi, tweeted saying:  “I don’t kno (sic) what smacked more, the fact that in 2017 organizers couldn’t do a common google search 2 check the validity of their performer. Or being reminded, even at one of your final events @camb, surrounded by friends you love, that black people at this uni get no REST.”

“Imagine I paid money to see a white woman pretend to be Beyoncé & my white peers hooting and hollering dancing along like it’s nothing,” she continued.

The Ball’s Apology

The Robinson May Ball’s Committee President, Tasha Tobinson, issued a statement apologizing.

“We would like to sincerely apologize for any offense caused by the Beyoncé tribute act at Robinson May Ball,” the statement read.“This was a bona fide act booked through a recognized agency, and no offense was intended by any member of the Committee or anyone associated with it.”

“We will happily receive any comments or issues raised by attendees and those affected. We will be working with next year’s Committee to avoid similar occurrences. Finally, we would like to reiterate our apologies and thank all guests for their patience and understanding in this matter.”

The Singer on her Choices

Many other universities proceeded to boycott the Durham Pride event, which took place earlier this year, where the singer was also set to make an appearance. However, her performance was cancelled by the event.

At the time, Harper said: “Never in all the years have I had anything like this before. I only put on St Tropez tan like I would for a night out.”

The singer did not yet comment on the outrage sparked by this recent performance.


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