Two Philadelphia Mummers associations spoke out Saturday night against “expressions of hate," four days after at least two marchers wore black face paint during the city’s annual New Year’s Day Mummers Parade.
The Philadelphia Mummers Fancy Brigade Association and the String Band Association released separate statements condemning the events that involved “racial discrimination” Jan. 1.
The Fancy Brigade Association "condemns any and all expressions of hate and/or cultural appropriation of another culture,” the organization said in a statement.
The String Band Association echoed that message, stating that the group stands “with the City of Philadelphia leaders condemning the participants’ offensive behavior.”
Both groups stated that they were not affiliated with the incident. Neither group mentioned the use of blackface specifically.
On Wednesday, two marchers with the Froggy Carr Wench Brigade wore blackface — despite the fact that it has been banned from the parade since 1963. The men, who were interviewed by CBS3, identified themselves as Mike Tomaszwski and Kevin Kinkel. Kinkel told the news station that his use of blackface had “nothing to do about being racist to the black person, or the white person, or the yellow person, whatever.”
Several other members of the group were seen wearing variations of face paint in the Flyers’ colors of black, orange, and white.
Controversies surrounding the use of blackface have erupted across the nation in recent years and have reignited a discussion again about the practice’s offensive roots. This year’s incident at the parade also sparked another conversation about what additional steps can be taken to crack down on racist and transphobic performances that have appeared during the 120-year-old parade’s history.
After the incident, the Froggy Carr Wench Brigade was disqualified from the annual parade, and Mayor Jim Kenney said this week that the city will “explore options for additional penalties moving forward.”
The String Band Association said it pledges “full cooperation with legal or government authorities and has taken meaningful steps to improve its policies and procedures to prevent insensitivities in our productions.”