British bonfire celebration as soon as once more mired in blackface controversy


The East Sussex city of Lewes is known for its conventional November 5 celebrations, which embody firework shows, parades and the burning of effigies.

Bonfire Night time is a convention celebrated throughout Britain to commemorate the arrest of Man Fawkes, who plotted to kill King James I in 1605.

The younger boy appeared in blackface alongside his mom at a fancy dress contest that came about within the run as much as Bonfire Night time. A photograph was later revealed on Fb and appeared in a store window in Lewes.

There are six bonfire societies on the town and members gown up in costumes depicting Vikings, Native People, monks, Roman legionaries and Genghis Khan’s Mongol warriors.

For greater than 100 years, members of the Lewes Borough Bonfire Society dressed up in Zulu-style costumes, full with blackface, and paraded by way of the city.

However after widespread criticism, the society final 12 months sought steerage from a Zulu group and pledged to finish the observe.

The newest incident has reignited controversy.

Donald Trump meets a fiery end in UK Bonfire Night tradition.

Mick Symes, a member of the Lewes Borough Bonfire Society committee, advised CNN by way of phone that the group is “critical concerning the situation of racism” and regretted the current incident.

“It is triggered us a whole lot of embarrassment,” mentioned Symes. “It is in opposition to the foundations of our society.”

Symes mentioned that whereas there have been some racist incidents in Lewes, it’s no extra of an issue than in different cities.

“It is a numerous neighborhood and folks take to each other,” he mentioned.

The six Lewes bonfire societies all wear different traditional costumes.

Nonetheless, an nameless activist group referred to as Bonfire Towards Racism continues to marketing campaign in opposition to using blackface within the Lewes festivities.

“The choice of a small fraction of members to embody caricatured, destructive stereotypes of black Africans is racist and runs counter to the general spirit of the occasion,” reads an announcement on the group’s web site. “Their motion serves solely to extend stress and division inside our numerous neighborhood.”

The group has up to now not responded to CNN’s request for remark.

A spokesman for the native authority, Lewes and Eastbourne Councils, advised CNN that it could not be commenting on the matter because the bonfire shouldn’t be an official occasion.

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