Paul Tuennerman’s Resignation and Apology to the community over blackface comment

Note the comment her husband makes that is listed on this post. That is the source of the brouhaha, not the Zulu mask and costume.

Note the comment her husband makes that is listed on this post. That is the source of the brouhaha, not the Zulu mask and costume.

Tales of the Cocktail Co-Founder, Paul Tuennerman resigns from Tales over his comment during his wife’s Zulu ride saying this in his letter to the community:

My comment to Ann about blackface prior to the Zulu parade was meant to be a husband’s innocent teasing of his camera-shy wife, not a belittlement of others. In retrospect, the words were insensitive, hurtful and just plain dumb and I feel horrible for the pain they have caused. I take full responsibility and it is with a very heavy heart that, effective immediately, I am resigning from Tales of the Cocktail.

Paul Tuennerman’s Resignation and Apology to the Community | Tales of the Cocktail

 

I appreciate the Tuennermans quick response to his insensitive and poorly chosen comment and wish Ann well in her work, including what I am sure is her hoped for continued participation in the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club which hosts many wonderful community events across New Orleans and does much to highlight African-American leadership across every sector in our city. It is up to those in the African-American community to decide if more is needed to be done for the Tuennermans to feel the effect of his words. People are already attempting to pooh-pooh this and to make the wrong argument here: The issue is not the costume, as everyone knows has been the traditional wear since the early days with characters playing roles like the mayor, the Big Shot and the Witch Doctor.

This is the answer given to the local paper a few years back by one of the members:

What’s up with the blackface, wigs and skirts? Why does a mostly African-American organization present that image during its most public moment?

It’s all make believe and a part of masking. The blackface, bush wig and grass skirt are parts of the Official Parade Dress for the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, Inc. and date back to the early 1900’s and the initial parades of the organization. Early costumes were put together with the materials available to the members at that time and are meant for fun. Our costumes are not meant to be offensive to anyone.

 

 

 

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About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist.

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