In yet another catastrophically ill-conceived marketing ploy, organizers of a South Carolina town’s Juneteenth celebration decided in the name of diversity to use white people on one of its banners for an event celebrating the end of slavery which caused outrage among black residents.
(Video Credit: FOX Carolina News)
Initially, the organization stood by its banner campaign which features people of an array of races celebrating Juneteenth. After massive backlash, they have now apologized for the faux pas, according to the Daily Mail.
Nonprofit organization Juneteenth GVL Inc. did the banner advertising its three-day event in Greenville for Juneteenth, a holiday that celebrates African American emancipation from enslavement on June 19, 1865. On that day, 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, and declared that more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state were free by executive decree. President Biden proclaimed June 19 a federal holiday in 2021.
The event was advertised as “a celebration of freedom, unity and love” but didn’t have the effect the group thought it would. Instead, it engendered shock and anger among Greenville, South Carolina residents.
“Meanwhile in Greenville, South Carolina…” tweeted the account Black-Owned SC.
Meanwhile in Greenville, South Carolina : pic.twitter.com/Re7wCXG5WG
— Black-Owned SC (@blackownedsc) May 24, 2023
‘Yeah… Y’all gentrifying Juneteenth already,’ said one.
Numerous people accused the organizers of trying to “gentrify” the event.
“I was appalled, I was saddened, I was angry,” Bruce Wilson, who is an activist with Greenville’s Fighting Injustice Together, told local outlet Fox Carolina in an interview.
“We have to remember what Juneteenth is about, it’s about freedom, it’s about the freedom of slaves,” he asserted. “I just don’t think white America should be the face of Juneteenth, and I think that’s where the disconnect is.”
Juneteenth GVL Inc. was co-founded by three black men and has an all-black board and team, according to its website. They began hosting Greenville’s annual Juneteenth event in 2022.
“Juneteenth GVL would like to offer an apology to the community for the presence of non-black faces being represented on two flags representing Juneteenth,” co-founder Rueben Hays posted on social media Thursday. “We acknowledge this mistake having been made and will correct the error quickly.”
Words from our director & founder.
While concerns, confusion, and conversations were brought to the teams attention. We wanted to ensure action was taken before we responded. Thank you all for your support and may we continue to celebrate. #Juneteenthgvl pic.twitter.com/r0n3LR0hRX
— Juneteenthgvl (@Juneteenthgvlsc) May 25, 2023
“This error was an attempt at uniting all of Greenville and thereby a slight oversight on one individual’s part that prevented us from fully embracing the rich potential and celebrating the depth of the black culture through the message and meaning of Juneteenth. We take full responsibility for this misstep. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to curate remarkable Juneteenth experiences…and we anticipate a beautiful celebration that everyone will be pleased with and proud of,” he remarked.
“Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that our events fully reflect the diversity, inclusivity, and historical significance of Juneteenth,” Hays concluded.
The fallout from the marketing move that failed to read the room was intense. Some even defended the company that came up with the idea. However, many blamed white people who had nothing to do with the ad, further highlighting the racial divisiveness in America promoted by the left:
Who approved this I know greenville got black folks there
— Kita B. (@kitabryant) May 24, 2023
What in the Marthas Vineyard advertisement is this Chileeee
— Deborah James (@DebBeekakes) May 24, 2023
It’s almost like they don’t have a whole large group of black people called the Gullah geechee community to represent.
— Gullah Geechee Goddess♋️ (@EclecticMujer) May 24, 2023
Ain’t no way.
— Nicole Lewis, LCSW, LICSW (@NicoleLewisLCSW) May 24, 2023
Greenville being Greenville….
— GullahJack843 (@GeecheeBee843) May 24, 2023
A black man approved the signs because he wants all included. I just watched him it on WYFF at 6 pm. There was an earful enough to be the lead story. He founded Juneteenth in Greenville.♀️We heard it from him.
— 1Leeis LeCingola. DNP (@Risinger1L) May 24, 2023
That is a travesty. pic.twitter.com/2IRvee8kFj
— THEE Fortuona Paendrag (@lemtaz) May 24, 2023
I’m not one that screams cultural appropriation but this seems like they are trying to straight up steal Juneteenth
— TheRealMaxwell (@NMF917) May 24, 2023
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