Pitman’s elected board member Vincent Kelly under fire in Blackface pic as rapper Flavor Flav – CBS Philly
PITMAN, NJ (CBS) – Social media posts have returned to haunt two newly elected leaders in South Jersey. Excitement over Tuesday’s election quickly wore off after controversial posts were found by New Jersey state senator-elect Edward Durr and newly-elected Pitman city councilor Vincent Kelly.
“It’s disgusting. I hope he gets kicked out of office. I mean, what’s going to happen now,” said a woman named Lisa.
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Shock and condemnation in South Jersey after not one but two newly elected Gloucester County officials were thrown into the limelight for what they allegedly did or said in the past.
“It surprises me that he can go this far in an election and it doesn’t come out until now,” Lisa said.
Lisa refers to Vincent Kelly.
The Republican and his running mate beat two outgoing Democrats to win Pitman Borough Council seats on Tuesday night.
But on Friday, calls for his resignation came as a blackface photo resurfaced.
“It’s pretty shocking, but our goal isn’t to cancel it, it’s to educate it,” said Judy Walker of the Pitman Anti-Racist Collective.
The Pitman Anti-Racist Collective said Kelly shared the photo on her Facebook page. They say it shows him dressed in Flavor Flav for Halloween, wearing makeup to darken his skin.
“Whites dressed as minstrels to make fun of blacks, to exaggerate the comedy, to make fun of them. So we take it very seriously and it hurts, ”said Loretta Winters of the Gloucester County NAACP.
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We tried to speak with Kelly but our calls and attempts at her home went unanswered. Kelly has since removed the photo.
“This is unacceptable and it should not come from our elected officials,” Winters said.
Winters says this incident, along with recent news about Durr, shows a disturbing trend.
“It tells me that homework was not done, homework and candidate research was not done,” she said.
Durr, who defeated State Senate Speaker Steve Sweeney, comes under fire in a series of posts, including a 2019 tweet that called Islam a ‘false religion’ and a ‘cult of hate “.
“I take care of some stuff. I’m asking you to give me a few days, okay? said Durr.
He was not available on Friday but has since apologized, saying he was passionate and sometimes says things in the heat of the moment.
“Has he made a mistake in the past? Absoutely. Does that define who he is? Absolutely not, ”said Gloucester County Republican President Jacci Vigilante.
Durr is expected to meet with Muslim leaders next week. The NAACP says they would like to sit down with Kelly.
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Kelly released a statement and apologized for attending a Halloween party as Flava Flav on Saturday.
“In 2008, I bought and wore a Flavor Flav costume to a Halloween party where guests had to dress like a celebrity. Back then, Flavor Flav’s “yeah boy” cries made him incredibly popular, wearing the costume was a celebration of his fame.
“Years later, I briefly used the photo as a cover photo on my Facebook page during the Halloween season, changed the photo after the season, and frankly forgot about it until recent events.
“I understand that we live in a very different time and today, even as a celebration of his fame, I wouldn’t even consider wearing a costume that included a blackface. I apologize to anyone who might be offended by my costume choice years ago and will be reaching out to the Pitman anti-racist collective soon so we can hopefully schedule a meeting and have an open and honest dialogue.