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Video of UCI Fraternity Members in Blackface Sparks Outrage

A fraternity at University of California, Irvine, has issued a public apology after video of a member in blackface went viral, inciting fury throughout the community.

Members of Lambda Theta Delta are depicted dressed in suits and lip syncing to Justin Timberlake’s single, Suit & Tie, featuring rapper Jay-Z.

When the rapper is introduced in the song, another member gestures toward the camera, his face painted in black makeup.

The video identifies Justin T. Nguyen, Tony D. Duong and Philip Lam as the students on camera. Rainier Nanquil is identified as the LTD member portraying Jay-Z.

Made to welcome new members, the video was as released on LTD’s YouTube page on April 16, with the caption: “DISCLAIMER: No racism intended.”

Students of all ethnicities are shocked.

“It’s very offensive. Blackface originated back in times when African-Americans were thought of as less human so bringing it up now takes us back 100 years or so,” one UC Irvine student told KCAL9′S Rachel Kim.

Blackface, a form of theatrical make-up, originated in the 19th century with the performance of minstrel shows and is credited with contributing to stereotypes of African-Americans.

LTD President Darius Obana said the organization is regretful about the incident.

“We sincerely apologize if we offended anyone whatsoever. On behalf of my brothers who were involved in the video, know that it was unintentional. But unintentional or not, we do know that it was wrong,” he said.

The video has since been removed from the organization’s YouTube page, although it remained accessible via the video-sharing website at press time.

The campus has been in an uproar since it began circulating across the Internet.

The Asian Pacific Student Association at UC Irvine posted a response on its Facebook page on Wednesday, calling the video “deeply offensive” and “blatantly ignorant.”

“It has been brought to our attention that a deeply offensive, racist video was posted by the Lambda Theta Delta fraternity at UC Irvine,” the post read.

“The video featured blackface, which has been used to caricature and stereotype individuals in the Black community. The use of blackface by LTD is blatantly ignorant and the Asian Pacific Student Association at UC Irvine strongly condemns the fraternity’s actions…”

The organization denied having any affiliation with Lamba Theta Delta, the university’s largest Asian Greek fraternity.

LTD released a response to rampant criticism for the act via Facebook on Wednesday, acknowledging the “incredibly offensive” nature of the video.

“First and foremost, Lambda Theta Delta sincerely apologizes for the extremely racist content of the “Suit and Tie” video. The use of blackface in the video is incredibly offensive as well as insensitive,” the post read.

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