Durham Pride boycotted after booking ‘blackface’ Beyonce

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Durham’s pride festival is embroiled in controversy after a headline act was accused of blackface.

A string of complaints have been made about the Beyonce tribute act, with furious local groups set to boycott the event in protest.

Leanne Harper, a white artist who performs as Beyonce, who is black, has caused uproar from some who say her act is ‘blackface’.

The annual LGBT event is due to be headlined by X Factor legends Jedward this Bank Holiday weekend.

Leanne Harper as Beeyonce

Ms Harper applies skin darkener to her face in an attempt to appear more like Beyonce, who is the daughter of an African American father.

Her act, Beeyonce, has been promoted on official materials distributed around the city and on social media as one of the event’s key acts.

One angry local wrote on the Facebook event: “Can someone please explain to me how this isn’t blackface?”

Another wrote: “Blackface is making yourself darker to look like a black person. I’m confused as to how this isn’t that.”

Facebook post

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The performer reacted angrily to the complaints, telling those offended: “If your (sic) offended stay away.”

The singer, who claims to be the best Beyonce tribute act in the UK, wrote: “should I not be allowed to perform as I am white?”

The 31-year-old added: “I only use st tropez like any other girl on a saturday night”.

She continued: “I have dancers and family members of this origin I would hope they would tell me if black face was what my act was about?”

Facebook post

PinkNews understands that a number of local groups, including black and minority ethnic societies, are now boycotting the event in protest at the act.

Some societies at Durham University have opted to skip the event in protest at the act.

Durham Pride sent a statement which did not address the concerns, but said they “take concerns and complaints very seriously”.

Ms Harper has said she intends to comment, but has not yet issued a statement.