Protestors in New Orleans are taking a stance against the use of Blackface during Mardis Gras. As reported by the USA Today, last week, the group Take Em Down NOLA, whose mission is to remove all symbols of white supremacy throughout the city, held a press conference where they called on members of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club to end their 110-year-tradition of donning the antiquated look.
Zulu members, who are mostly Black, say their use of Blackface is intended to pay homage to their ancestors. In a statement shared with USA Today the group said the costumes are meant to look like garments worn by South African Zulu Warriors and “bear no resemblance” to Blackface minstrel performers, that started the trend of using black makeup to negatively depict Black people. Even so, Take Em Down says enough is enough.
“While we understand and respect the power of traditions in our city, we also know that like chattel slavery and the monuments to the white supremacists that represented it, not all traditions were meant to last forever,” the group said in a statement posted to their website.
Take Em Down played a pivotal role in getting the white supremacist monuments throughout the city of New Orleans removed under the Mayorship of Mitch Landrieu. The removal of statues paying honor to Robert E. Lee and others started a domino effect across the country.
The grassroots organizations says, “Like ALL monuments to white supremacy, blackface has no place in New Orleans in 2019.”