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):
“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:
“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:
“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.”