Nov

12

GREEK BΣΔΤS: Words from Onyx and Lambda

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And here we have a lot of words from Onyx and Lambda, courtesy of Lambda, regarding the GREEK BΣΔΤS controversy. Click on the links to download the different statements; it’s way too many words for us to copy-paste here, but we’ll give you some highlights.

Lambda has provided us with (uncensored) video from the performance. Watch and judge for yourself:

First up, a petition circulated by Onyx that apparently went around the Multicultural Greek Council already. Written by April Mays of Onyx, with support from Black Organization of Sister Souls (BOSS) and Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority (SLG):

Onyx Petition Regarding Greek Beats

To the brothers of Lambda Phi Epsilon: SHAME ON YOU…as a member organization of the Multicultural Greek Council you should be especially ashamed of your ignorant, disrespectful and racist display at Greek Beats. As a sister of a multicultural sorority, I was honestly shocked that the offending fraternity was not only a member of my council but also an organization who I thought had the feelings and considerations of its fellow council members in mind…clearly I was mistaken.

‘There needs to be a consensus amongst the Columbia community at large that this type of behavior is NOT okay. There is no room for debate. It’s not the sole responsibility of the Black and Brown community to call out offensive, discriminatory, prejudice, and/or racist behavior. It’s the responsibility of EVERY member of this community regardless of race, class, gender, or sexual orientation. Wrong is wrong…it’s just that simple. Disciplinary action needs to be taken and public awareness needs to be initiated; not only because this behavior is completely unacceptable, but because it speaks to a much larger issue of racial insensitivity, which has plagued this community and country for years. There needs to be a mandatory meeting between both the offending organizations and members of our supporting organizations in order to appropriately address this issue through open dialogue. If we take these isolated incidents lightly, how can we ever expect to move forward?”

Second, Lambda’s apology, from president Bernard Cheng:

Lambda Phi Epsilon Apology to Onyx

“On the day of the performance, our rapper made a bad mistake and used the slur on one chorus of the song. This was entirely accidental, and we’re truly sorry about the mishap. Please rest assured that our performer meant to say “neighbor”, and did so in every other chorus. We can only imagine that he had been practicing to the real song many times, and that it slipped his tongue as he was trying to recall the lyrics.

Again, we completely understand that this is highly inappropriate and offensive even as an accident. As anAsian-interest fraternity, we’re very aware of how painful and demeaning racial slurs are. Please understand that this incident was absolutely unintentional, and our organization would never encourage the use of racial slurs, especially in a public performance setting. We apologize again for making this mistake.”

Finally, Lambda’s official statement:

Lambda Phi Epsilon Response Statement for Greek Beats

“We apologized during the event, and also issued a formal apology to Onyx after the event. However, we understand now that in our responses we put too much emphasis on the fact that it was unintentional, not the fact that we had hurt people when we used a word so strongly associated with an ongoing history of oppression.

‘However, to insinuate that we actively encouraged the use of the word especially in a public setting would be a misrepresentation of our brothers and values. From the beginning, our executive board and performers understood that we could not use the original “Holy Grail” lyrics given the content. Our performers ultimately decided to substitute the slur with “neighbor” as a friendly gesture towards our neighbors, the sisters of SDT.

‘Finally, despite these misunderstandings, we strongly agree with Onyx’s sentiment that racial slurs and the severe ramifications of their casual use are both serious matters. We will be working as an organization to prevent making similar mistakes in the future. In addition, Onyx’s performance mix-tape also featured an uncensored version of “Tom Ford” by Jay-Z, and we hope that they will be mindful as well of this issue. We look forward to meeting with Onyx and other groups soon to better understand how to eliminate these issues in the future.

We hope the Columbia community is able to understand and forgive us for this mistake, and look forward to making positive steps for the multicultural community in the near future.”

Update 9:45 Apparently the original Onyx petition we posted–obtained, as we said originally, from Lambda–was not the correct statement. The above highlighted quotes have been corrected. Here’s the real one: Actual Onyx Petition.

Our original post mistakenly stated that SLG was in support of the petition. SLG’s president tells us “while April Mays is a sister of SLG, our chapter did not co-sign this letter and we are in no way involved with this controversy.”

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64 Comments

  1. but...

    damn but that voice though...

  2. Anonymous

    I don't get it.
    1) it was a mistake
    2) the mistake was reverting to the original lyrics of the song
    3) they apologized

  3. Michelle  

    They clearly said neighbor...

  4. Onyx

    You said in your own apology no one should use the word, including black or brown people but you did just that in your performance that very night. Secondly you were extremely rude to everyone involved from the beginning and his is coming from an on looker. Your letter is extremely rude and unprofessional in its form. You have a point but your actions need to abide by your words, which they don't. As someone of color I too am offended, but let's please look at what happened. The context IS important. They clearly made a mistake and all parties did apologize. The way you handled this event and your continuous use of music that uses racial slurs and sexist and mysoginistic language makes it very hard to take you seriously.

    • reality

      I agree. This behavior is NOT okay. I don't think that Lambda Phi Epsilon handled this situation in the best way, but I don't think that they should be criticized so harshly for the fact that they used the word by accident. It was unintentional, clearly; but obviously that doesn't make it okay. Perhaps songs that use degrading language in general, whether it's regarding women, certain races, etc., shouldn't be promoted - maybe this is a larger issue than one person accidentally using a word that is clearly derogatory. Maybe Columbia and the MGLC community should be focusing more on promoting racial equality and the elimination of slurs from ALL aspects of culture, instead of singling out a small accident. Penalizing this one group, though they should take more actions INTERNALLY to rectify the situation, isn't going to help anybody. It's a bigger cultural issue that's at hand. So let's all simmer down.

    • Anonymous

      They are acknowledging that they used the word in their performance even though it was wrong and should never be said. They aren't denying they said it. If they had issued a statement BEFORE their performance saying that the word should never be said, then you can say that they didn't "abide by their actions", but you can't use that argument if their apology and acknowledgement of their behavior came AFTER it happened.

      • Anonymous

        Where did they acknowledge that THEY used it?
        It's possible I missed it but I'm pretty sure they did not acknowledge it

        • Anonymous

          literally taken from Bwog's post:

          “On the day of the performance, our rapper made a bad mistake and used the slur on one chorus of the song. This was entirely accidental, and we’re truly sorry about the mishap. Please rest assured that our performer meant to say “neighbor”, and did so in every other chorus. We can only imagine that he had been practicing to the real song many times, and that it slipped his tongue as he was trying to recall the lyrics.”

          Please don't tell me that Lambda wasn't being specific enough as to which slur was used.

  5. Yo so Onyx  

    Is probably just jealous they lost

  6. The Crow  

    CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW! CAW!

  7. Hey Onyx  

    Why so onyx.. go steelyx

  8. Onyx..  

    Correction : all parties apologized after realizing their actions could have serious implications for their organizations. Genuine? I think not...

  9. I'm black...

    ...am I supposed to get upset when Asian people say it but not when black people say it? I'm confused.

    • Maybe this will help clarify.  

      A quote from the official statement: "As a member of the Black and Brown community here on campus it was extremely upsetting, scary, and angering to see this majority white crowd openly endorse (through applause, screams, and cheers) the use of such offensive language and behavior. You can’t take away the history behind the use of that word and in no circumstance is it ever okay to use it as a means of entertaining a majority white audience, regardless of whether or not the person using the word was White, Asian, Black or Latino...it’s not okay!"

      • I'm (still) black...

        ...and I'm even more confused after reading that. Is it acceptable for "such offensive language and behavior" to be said at all?

        If it is so wrong to entertain a "majority white audience, regardless of whether or not the person using the word was White, Asian, Black or Latino," does it make that wrong when Jay-Z uses it in front of White audiences?

        If the answers to those questions is yes, then why is it okay by implication for the word to be used in front of black people, if there is such "history behind the use of that word", and why is it okay, then for Onyx to use the exact same word, in front of the exact same "majority white audience" as before?

        Like I said, I'm not offended by this. I'm offended by the word, yes, but I have enough common sense to realise no one was trying to offend anybody here. I'm just confused.

        • Actually

          ...let me qualify that last part. I'm not un-offended because no offense was meant- you can still be offensive without meaning to. If Lambda had made an original rap using the n-word I'd be offended and I'd say I have good reason to be. But they performed a very popular song by a very popular artist so I'm baffled as to why they've chosen to reserve their outrage at the usage of the word until now, because, as said above, if they take offense to it being used in front of a "majority white audience, regardless of whether or not the person using the word was White, Asian, Black or Latino," then clearly Jay-Z merits their condemnation as well.

  10. clarification

    As a non-greek person of color in the audience, I have to say the most appalling thing about what happened that night was the way Onyx reacted. Of course it's upsetting, but the way they handled it was unacceptable. As I was seated close to the front near the door, I got to witness members of Onyx not only yelling at but also belittling the girls in SDT. I even saw some girls crying as they were aggressively and rudely confronted and threatened about a matter that was out of their hands. Even after an immediate apology on stage for Lambda's mistake, Onyx demanded another, and then proceeded to dance to a song that repeated the same word SEVERAL times.

    Is this how you get people to respect you, Onyx?

  11. so called witness...  

    Did you also witness the several members of Onyx crying? Or hear the rude comments made by those so-called innocent SDT girls? I did...

  12. Anonymous  

    What the fuck is it with girls screeching during music nowadays? I had to turn it off before I got a terrible headache. I can understand that it's not classical music and total silence isn't expected, but these high pitched screams are just ridiculous.

  13. grow up  

    nobody cares about your greek life or your stupid songs and dances. get on with your lives, pick a suitable study and just get on with it. you're all a bunch of supine protoplasmic inveterate jellies

  14. SDT?  

    Where are the words from SDT? Why are we only focusing on Onyx and the Lambdas...there's 3 parties involved.

  15. GreekLife  

    @grow up: Someone didn't get a bid. #bitter

  16. Jay  

    The fact that people are even defending an idiotic, racist remark is extremely telling about this "diversified" community called Columbia University. The lamdas personally acknowledged they used the offensive language so why would someone say "they clearly said neighbor", obviously they didn't. And that someone to whom I'm referring would be you, Michelle, whoever you are. Furthermore, everyone else defending the use of the word or making light of the situation through unrelated jokes, whenever there's some sort of group meeting about the incident, which I'm sure there will be, I would love for you to show up and make those same remarks....not from behind a computer where you can remain "anonymous" "but...." or "you so Onyx" but alive and in the flesh. Until then...

  17. Jay  

    How about you come pull it out for me...I would love to see that. And if Michelle wants to make jokes...tell her to try out for stand up comedy...

  18. Anonymous  

    Obviously the use of the n word is offensive. There should be a dialogue between Onyx, SDT, Lambda, and the university as a whole about this incident because it is symptomatic of larger issues. But does that give Onyx the excuse to bully other organizations with their angry tirade of a "statement"?

  19. Marshall Mathers  

    Eminem gets to say it.

  20. Lambda

    if Jay-Z says it why can't i say it?????? #truthbomb #dropped

  21. What  

    "Several of our members were so hurt and upset that we had to yell, cry, and completely act out of character in attempts to incite some action."

    Are you fucking kidding me? Sit the fuck down, April Mays, this is beyond absurd!

  22. 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

  23. Bully?  

    Listen you say something offensive, you will get called out. You will be asked to apologize. Lambda's and SDT's hesitation to apologize was due to their inability to understand the greater issue at hand and confront it front on. I'm sure more bullying and hazing is going on within those organizations then what ONYX requested from SDT and Lamda. Also, TOM FORD was censored #factonly.

  24. just gonna put this out there...  

    "...your group actively decided to go onstage and use this offensive
    language to entertain a room full of white faces, at the expense of every black and brown person in that space."

    April Mays, pretty sure I was just chilling

    -Indian dude

  25. Audience Member  

    I cannot believe this story has been so blown out of proportion. These girls worked tirelessly to raise money for charity and no one was trying to offend anyone. The issue could have been brought up but there is no need for any punitive actions to be taken on any of the groups involved. Onyx should not have performed if they felt this strongly wronged and in my opinion they are ruining an otherwise successful charity event, displacing the chips on their shoulder onto parties who have no vendetta against them. I believed Columbia students to be tolerant and understanding and this situation sadly proves me wrong.

  26. football and greek-life

    = Sigh.

  27. anon  

    GREEK LIFE WHY SO SERIOUS?

  28. Frat Star  

    Honestly get Shmacked and forget about it all!
    #turnuportransfer #noplaceforracism #stopbitchinandgodrink #columbianeedstoturnup #veryrare #veryemotional #youknowwhoitis
    Imshmacked.com

  29. Liane Darson

    I think it's sad that this is how we talk to each other, as members of Greek organizations that ALL uphold principles that include professionalism, it's sad that Lambdas said the n-word at a school event, but it's sadder that women of Greek organizations had to fight and have arguments with each other. Something wrong happened, and we should all work together to find a solution, not yell, cause a scene, and point fingers and call other organizations' racist. We should all be respectful and supportive at other organizations events', and not build divides between Multicultural Greeks and PanHellenic Greeks.

  30. Arsene Wenger  

    Yo I swear half of Onyx are white?

  31. Anonymous  

    When something like this happens, especially if its an accident, the point is to call attention to how situations like this are still incredibly hard and offensive. The point is not to shame and blame, including releasing a statement that includes the phrase "shame on you" in all caps. The point is to teach people how not to make mistakes, and if they do (which is apt to happen occasionally due to the cultural appropriation and mixed messages from Hip-Hop and mass media) teach them how to deal with their mistakes and apologize and make it better. How are people supposed to say sorry and learn from their mistakes if no one will accept an apology? Onyx's letter, frankly, shuts down the conversation about race on campus instead of opening a dialogue. Who wants to talk when about hard topics when their are so many people ready to shame and blame?

  32. Kendrick Llama

    Fuck them other neighbors cuz I'm down for my neighbors

  33. Anonymous  

    Why does the Onyx petition sight that it "would be nice to know there's a sense of solidarity amongst the black an brown community." Shouldn't it appeal for solidarity amongst every race on campus?

  34. brock

    i didnt know that onyx could learn self-destruct!!!

  35. Anonymous

    So this is one of those questions that I don't know how to ask in a way that doesn't sound like trolling, and Google is failing me. What does a successful dialogue actually look like? I've heard it called for a lot and never really knew if there was any exemplar of how to do it right, and what it would mean.

    Also Bwog butchered the Onyx petition by abridging it, the impression from the excerpt it totally false. Seriously, click through.

  36. impressed  

    I'm impressed that there actually is this much dialogue and even public apologies and statements. where i come from, people would just stop at getting mutually angry.

    i'm confused as to what onyx wants though. i think blaming or "punishing" lambda is counterproductive.

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