The UCLA chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity is now under investigation for allegedly throwing a Kanye West-themed party that featured blackface and other racist costumes. According to reports now emerging from the Los Angeles Times and the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student-run paper, invited guests dressed in baggy clothing, charcoaled faces, and fake booty. Members of the sorority Alpha Phi were also key participants, according to both reports.
“Everyone keep in mind that simply because I go to one of the top ranked institutions in the country, doesn’t mean I’m any farther away from ignorance and racism as anyone else. They just hide it behind frat/sorority themes, anonymous postings, and micro-aggressions,” one student expressed on Facebook.
At this stage, it’s unclear just how racist the party was, with accusations of ‘blackface’ perhaps a stretch based on the pictures emerging so far (especially considering the traditional definition). Booty accents may have also been specifically geared towards Kim Kardashian, in fitting with the theme. One Instagram picture making the rounds is drawing debate, with defenders pointing to charcoaled faces designed to emulate gold miners of the 1800s, with a connection to Kanye West’s hugely-popular song, “Gold Digger.”