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Students in blackface re-enact Chris Brown, Rihanna

Chris Brown and Rihanna

By// Mariah Craddick

A photo of three White students performing a skit in blackface, supposedly depicting the infamous Chris Brown and Rihanna domestic dispute, during a homecoming pep rally has gone viral. The incident took place last Friday at Waverly High School in Waverly, NY—which Buzzfeed.com notes is 97% White—during its “Mr. Waverly” competition.

The image, uploaded by CNN iReport contributor and 2006 Waverly graduate Matthew Dishler, shows a female student on the gym floor covering her head while a male student pulls the other (who’s holding a weapon of some sort) off of her. Students in the audience look on in amusement.

“In this skit they would display acts of domestic violence as satire to an audience that included not only students but parents, faculty, and various members of the media and community leaders,” Dishler wrote in his report. “None of them stopped the skit.”

In response to the article’s circulation and now nationwide criticism, the Waverly community has responded mostly in defense of the re-enactment—many saying it wasn’t racist and “harmless.”

The school apparently is no stranger to blackface. A commenter on the iReport pointed out that last year a student acted out a Tiger Woods skit, though they say it was “actually very classy.”

“The Waverly School District is committed to creating a positive atmosphere though all activities,” Waverly Superintendent Joseph Yelich said in a statement released to the press. “There is a set of concerns that a number of individuals have had, and we want to address those concerns.”

Thus far, no action has been taken as a result of the pep rally incident, and Yelich has yet to indicate if there will be any repercussions.

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