The Krewe of Zulu is a predominately African American fraternal organization known for their iconic Zulu parade during Mardi Gras.
Grass skirts, and coconuts are what make us think of Zulu, but there has been a storm of controversy surrounding their use of black face. (Although they don’t call it that)
Many social activists are raising the claim that Zulu is disrespecting black culture by allowing white Americans to paint their face black during the parade. The Krewe of Zulu has is rooted in African American culture. The earliest signs of organization came from the fact that the majority of these men belonged to a Benevolent Aid Society. Benevolent Societies were the first forms of insurance in the Black community. For a small amount of dues, members received financial help when sick or financial aid when burying deceased members.
The Krewe of Zulu has its roots in black culture, but many black Americans do not like the idea of them painting their faces black. In the 1960’s during the height of Black awareness, it was unpopular to be a Zulu. Dressing in a grass skirt and donning a black face were seen as being demeaning. Large numbers of black organizations protested against the Zulu organization, and its membership dwindled to approximately 16 men. Everyone goes to the Zulu Ball, we all love the parade. But is there a line to be drawn when we’re talking about white crew members painting their faces black?
How do you feel about the topic? Should this be addressed by the Krewe? We’ll keep you updated.