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19th Apr 2022

Diversity activists accuse DJ of wearing blackface at school before being told he’s black

Kieran Galpin


‘I am deeply offended by this email even with the included apology’

Two diversity advocates are being slammed for falsely suggesting that a school Parent Teacher Association hired a DJ “wearing blackface.”

Stuart Rhoden and Jill Lassen were outraged when they thought that the Scottsdale Unified School District’s Hopi Elementary PTA had hired a DJ in Black face – but as it turns out, DJ Kim Koko Hunter is a Black man.

According to the Arizona Daily Independent, both diversity advocates are local to the area. Rhoden is an instructor at ASU’s University College and promotes “all dimensions of diversity” through his work on numerous committees and boards. Lassen serves as a co-chair for the Scottsdale Parent Council (SPC) DEI Committee.


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A post shared by Kim Koko Hunter (@kimkokohunter)

The two activists had seen posts from the Hopi PTA that showed a disco-themed charity auction. In a number of the photos, Hunter can be seen clad in a gold shirt and silver boots. After viewing these images, Lassen then emailed Megan Livengood, head of the Hopi PTA, accusing the group of promoting racism on social media by posting images of Hunter in Black face.

“I am deeply offended by this email even with the included apology,” said Livengood in a reply email obtained by the Arizona Daily Independent.

Realising her mistake, Lassen’s apology went on to say that she could not “fathom the hurt, anger and frustration you felt,” especially after Livengood’s team had “volunteered countless hours on your event”


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A post shared by Kim Koko Hunter (@kimkokohunter)

Things played out differently for Rhoden, who made a public statement through Facebook. In a post from April 12, he emphasised, “I did not state that the person was White.”

He added: “Looking on his FB page (photos below), it seems at the very least he is in darker make-up if not “Black face”, or I am completely mistaken and it’s the lighting of the patio.”

Hunter, 56, reportedly addressed the situation through Facebook Live, where he revealed that an organiser from the event asked his team if he was Black. “They thought that the DJ there or the person there was in a black face, and the person that they thought was in black face was me,” he said.

“Was I not Black enough? How black do I got to be for people to know that I’m an actual Black person,” he added, addressing the accusation that he was wearing darker makeup.

While none of the official parties have commented further, the same cannot be said for some of the district’s parents who are calling for funding to be withdrawn.

“This hateful nonsense has to stop. This organization needs to be defunded by every Scottsdale PTA/PTO/APT,” wrote Amanda Wray on Facebook.

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