MSU Students Protest “Aida”

MSU Students Protest “Aida”

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Written By: Lataya Rothmiller
Photo By: Emma Cimo
Audio By: Sammie Williams and Lataya Rothmiller

Wednesday night was the start of a five day protest at Montclair State’s Memorial auditorium against the play “Aida” for use of “black face.”

A crowd of roughly twenty stood by a picket line. Their chant: “Black face is not okay, even when you’re in a play.”

Protest organizer Dania Felix says the majority white cast initially used mops to represent hair, and are using brown facial makeup to represent people of color in the play.

The mop wigs are no longer being used.

Students were vocal about their support.

“To us (people of color) that’s disrespectful and it’s offensive,” William Nicholson, a student protester said. “We’re making a big deal about it.”

Randy Mugleston, Chairperson of the Theatre and Dance Department at Montclair State University recently made a statement:

“Our student production of Aida is the work of a widely multi-cultural cast and crew. The
use of stage make-up and costumes are a routine aspect of all theatrical work. In this instance, the use of base makeup is to create the sense of individuals who are out in the sun for most of their lives. It is in no way meant to represent a specific skin color or race of people. As a theatrical convention, makeup is also used to create a color pallet with the performers to assist lighting. This by no means falls into the realm of blackface.”

Felix will be protesting until Sunday, October 23rd.

“We’ll be out here everyday until they change it.”