Performer ditches ‘blackface’ Beyonce act as Durham Pride hit by death threats

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

PinkNews Exclusive
Durham Pride has apologised after booking a ‘blackface’ Beyonce performer.

The event had been thrown into turmoil when local groups threatened to boycott the annual festival in protest.

The artist has now apologised and agreed to perform without darkening her skin.

Leanne Harper

Security fears have been heightened, however, after the performer received death threats.

Leanne Harper, a white artist who performs as Beyonce, who is black, caused offence as she usually applies skin darkener to her face in an attempt to look like Beyonce.

Durham Pride told PinkNews: “The Beyonce act has already apologised for any offence.

“She has already agreed to perform without the use of fake tan and will take part in Durham Pride.

“At Durham Pride we take concerns and complaints very seriously.”

RELATED: RuPaul star breaks down over ‘blackface’ character.

They added: “At Durham Pride we recognise the difficulties that BME and ethnic communities face in society and within the LGBT community.

“Durham Pride is for everybody who supports our values of diversity and inclusion.

“We look forward to working productively with everyone, especially those from BME and ethnic communities, to work towards an inclusive event and County.”

The group had previously claimed they consulted a black and minority ethnic charity, who they say told them the ‘blackface’ was not an issue.

Durham Pride tweet

A police investigation has now been launched over hate crime claims targetted at the performer and the festival’s committee.

Ms Harper says she has received abusive and threatening messages following the controversy.

When challenged on ‘blackface’ claims the 31-year-old reacted angrily, telling concerned patrons: “If your offended stay away.”

Leanne Harper as Beeyonce

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?”

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?”

The annual LGBT event is due to be headlined by X Factor legends Jedward over Sunday and Monday of the Bank Holiday weekend.