UC Irvine Fraternity Sparks Outrage After Making Video Using Blackface

A scene 55 seconds into a two-minute homemade music video posted on Youtube is being called reprehensible and racially offensive by UC Irvine's vice chancellor of student affairs.

Members of Lambda Theta Delta created a video in which they lip sync and dance to Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie." One of the members wears blackface -- a form of theatrical makeup that was used to portray racist stereotypes of African Americans -- to portray Jay-Z.

"We're being referred to as a racist organization," chapter president Darius Obana said.

When asked it that was true he said, "Absolutely not."

The fraternity brother at the center of the video, Obana said, is a junior at UC Irvine who was inspired by the Justin Timerlake-Jay-Z collaboration "Suit and Tie."

"He was trying to be Jay-Z," Obana said.

But that's not how many students interpret it. The Asian Pacific Student Association calls it deeply offensive.


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Obana said he first saw the video two weeks ago, but UCI's vice chancellor of student affairs didn't see it until Wednesday afternoon when the video was taken off Youtube and the fraternity issued an apology.

On Thursday, the vice chancellor told NBC4 the university has received condemnation from the Black Student Union, and his office has launched an investigation into this incident.

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