Flagler College Students Protest Blackface 'Aunt Jemima' Costume At St. Augustine Bakery

Oct 31, 2017

A St. Augustine bakery caused a stir Tuesday when one of its employees dressed up as Aunt Jemima for Halloween and came into work wearing black face.

The costume choice outraged a group of Flagler College students, who showed up at the Bunnery Bakery & Cafe on St. George Street to protest the employee's makeup, according to our News4Jax partner.

Students said they made their concerns known to the bakery's management after noticing the getup shortly before 10 a.m. At some point, police were called to escort the group out.

Hasani Malone, 20, is a junior at Flagler. She said she stopped by to explain why she finds the costume offensive, saying it's a stereotypical caricature, and to ask the employee to wipe it off.

"Historically, blackface was used to mimic and mock black people when directors wouldn't hire black actors for movie roles," she said. "They would portray them as ignorant, as lazy."

The bakery owner told News4JAX she fears her business will be unfairly branded as racist because of the costume. She noted that the employee, who is white, has biracial grandchildren.

The owner added that police were called after black customers came in and caused a commotion inside the store, yelling obscenities and scaring customers away.

But that's not how Malone, who is black, remembers things going. She said bakery staff singled her out when they called police, ignoring white protesters present.

“We want them to acknowledge the fact that black face is racist, that they were wrong," said Malone. "We want an apology from the restaurant."

The business later issued an apology via social media, adding that the employee involved has since removed the makeup: