OCU Students Offended By Costume, Racial Photo

Friday, October 9th 2015, 8:00 pm
By: News 9

A photo of two Oklahoma City University students posted on social media is causing controversy. The photo shows one of the girls dressed like rapper "Jay-Z" and her face is painted black.

The costumes were for a 21st birthday party themed to singer Beyonce's song "Drunk in Love", but some OCU students believe one freshman's Jay-Z costume went too far.

The two girls posed for the picture dressed as Beyonce and husband Jay-Z then, posted it to the social media site Snapchat before going to the party.

The picture was quickly shared amongst Oklahoma City University students.

Taylor Blackman, an OCU sophomore, arrived at that birthday party minutes after the girl left.

“Everybody came up to me and said, 'Oh, there's girl in blackface is here.' And I'm like, 'She's here?' And they were like, oh no she left, and I'm like 'Okay. Well, that's awkward,'" said Blackman.

Friends told Blackman the blackfaced freshman was met with questioning looks at the party, and even offers to wipe off her face. The girl was also reportedly uncertain about whether the face paint was a good idea.

“If you're nervous about something, she said she was nervous about it beforehand and asked her friends, 'Hey is this okay?' You know it's not going to have a good outcome,” said Blackman.

Thursday, Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry sent a letter to all students calling the picture "clearly offensive and unacceptable”.

President Henry continued on by saying, "Oklahoma City University policies call for a 'Zero-Tolerance' policy for discrimination, harassment, retaliation or violence."

The university is now conducting an investigation into the matter.

“I think some people don't realize how big of a situation that it is. And think also them not being African American they can't always put that into perspective of how racist or offensive that can be,” said OCU sophomore Kelsey Simmons.

News 9 was told the girl has not been in class this week.

OCU students hope this picture makes their classmates more sensitive to race issues.

The OCU President plans to develop a diversity and inclusion task force to handle these types of issues and encourage tolerance on campus.