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You may have heard the controversy: at Saturday night’s GREEK BΣΔΤS talent show, thrown by SDT, a performance of “Holy Grail” by members of Lambda came complete with the original, uncensored offensive language–specifically, repeated use of the n-word. The song apparently caused multiple people to storm out of the event, and a “face-off” was had as Onyx, a Columbia hip-hop troupe, refused to perform unless SDT apologized.

By this point, though, the judges had already awarded scores–unaffected by use of offensive language–and Lambda went on to win the contest. While an apology was eventually and repeatedly issued during the event, the groups involved are still feeling the backlash. According to observers, Onyx’s main complaint was that they are required to censor their songs, while no such censoring occurred for Lambda.

SDT, who organized Greek Beats, declined to respond, citing national bylaws that forbade them from speaking to the press.

Onyx and Lambda have both promised us statements that we’ve yet to receive, but once we do we’ll update here.

Update, 8:50 pm We’ve added video and statements in another post.

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  1. Confused?

    Are they angry at the lyrics? I haven't seen anyone protesting Jay-Z. If someone is covering a song you have to change the lyrics? The context of the lyrics are not offensive in the slightest way when Jay-Z says it but is when a member of lambda says it?

    Also Onyx may use censored versions of songs but the songs they uses till have those words. Not all of onyx is African American. Also some of those songs are still offensive and demeaning to women but no one is protesting them. This seems like controversy for the sake of controversy.
    There is nothing offensive here. Bad decision making? Sure. But offensive? Sorry not so much.

  2. Anonymous

    Onyx didn't censor their songs at all. The 'n' word was said multiple times in the songs they performed to

  3. Anonymous  

    agree with the previous comment. plus, lambda changed the song lyrics to exlude the n-word.

  4. Clarification  

    Did lambda use the official recorded version of holy grail as a background to a dance or whatever, or did someone in lambda actually sing/say the n-word on stage?

  5. Van Owen  

    All this talk about racism is making people forget about the most sexist institution on campus: Barnard College's sign in policy.

  6. it's just a word

    Get over it. Why do we let one word have so much power over us?

    • Anonymous  

      Has it been used against you? Do you carry its history? No, so you don't get to decide what other people need to "get over." Words matter, as I'm sure you don't want anyone to call you a racist (which you are if you think saying the n-word isn't a big deal).

  7. Sherry J. Wolf  

    This is an outrage! SDT's lawyers will be hearing from my advocacy group soon!

  8. Wait

    He didn't actually say the n-word. He said neighbor I believe.
    Also even if true it sounds a little ridiculous.

    "Hey you can't say jay-z's lyrics,"
    "Only we can"

  9. problematic

    wasn't AEPi's dance anti-semitic?

  10. you might be -not- be a black person if  

    you cant understand why seeing a large group of non-black people dance to/sing the n-word would be offensive or upsetting

    • Anonymous  

      Thank you, these comments are sort of unbelievable.

    • i too can use - not - use a name that makes no sense

      so it's not offensive or upsetting when a large group of black people dance to the n-word?

      • Anonymous  

        No, because it's their slur to reclaim. When a word is used against you and you reappropriate it to give it new meaning, you reclaim your own identity despite others seeing you as inferior. Analogous example: plus-size people proudly calling themselves fat as part of their body acceptance and to take away the power of others who use the term as an insult. So a fat person can call themselves fat because they're giving the term a positive meaning by saying it with pride, but if a thin person uses the term negatively it's obviously not okay.

  11. Anonymous  

    im sorry but i dont understand how its ok for people of a certain race to use the n word, but not others. if no one used it, i would understand, but the double standard isnt fair

  12. Anonymous  

    pretty sure there was a black person in their group as well

  13. Anonymous  

    wtf are these comments? just because you personally are not offended by something does not mean that someone else can't be. also any non-black person who thinks omgfreespeechitismyrighttosaythenword!!!!! cry me a fucking river.

  14. white dude, but  

    i never get why people have such a hard time with this. That's how language works; we have immensely nuanced contextual communicative tools that we take for granted all the time (you'd probably speak with different locution when talking to your mom than with your friend, and have an easy time too) but when it becomes a race thing nobody seems to understand that different people saying the same word has a different impact. I don't think it's that hard to "get."

  15. Anonymous  

    wtf are these comments? just because you personally don't find something to be offensive does not mean that someone else does not have the right to find it offensive--especially when the word in question is not disparaging to your race. any non-black person who thinks zomgfreespeechideservetousethenwordtoo!!!! needs to cry me a river/reevaluate their priorities.

  16. April Mays  

    Alexandra Svokos. I just sent you my ACTUAL statement please take down the counterfeit statement sent to you by God knows who as it did not come from me. Also please correct who the actual supporters of the statement are as you've implicated groups who had nothing to do with the incident by submitting a fraudulent statement. Thank you

  17. Frat bro

    I was there and he clearly said the n-word. Also it's different when an African-American individual in the recorded song says it, to when an Asian-American college bro says it live. This might seem like a double standard, but we all know that there have been tensions between the Black an Asian communities for a while now. And saying the n-word in a song is definitely an act of terrible judgement.
    Shame on Lambda, and shame on SDT for not disqualifying them

  18. Killabeez  

    Putting aside the fact that he was saying "neighbor," to be offended by this you literally have to strip away any and all context from the way the word was used. That's not the way language works. Furthermore, you don't censor art. You just don't.

    Shame on those individuals who trying to run game on other individuals here.

  19. anonEmoss  

    oh look, someone made the reverse sexism/racism joke.

  20. anonEmoss  

    Oh look, someone made a joke about reverse sexism/racism.

  21. Anonymous

    Sounds like your typical rowdy neighbors. Always makin a ruckus about the smallest little thing they can. It is beyond me why we all bicker about such pointless garbage. Why don't we all just partake in something everyone can enjoy, including out neighbors and light one up. Our economy has gone to shit because the media has made too many of us obsess with trivial bullshit like this (who cares if some neighbors wanna fight about a word that the same people are gonna continue to avoid and the other group of people will continue to use) instead of focusing on real issues, such as the god awful politicians/lobbyists/president we let take a dump on our country's global image every single day. If the neighbors wan't something to get mad about, let it be something constructive. Who gives a shit about some stupid song that was probably written on the back of a cocoa puffs

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