The emblematic Mummers Parade celebrated each year in Philadelphia and considered to be the oldest folk festival in the United States, could be over, if changes to control it are not made,
This was expressed by Mayor Jim Kenney in a letter adressed to the leaders of the Mummers divisions where he states that the future of the parade could be in jeopardy due to an incident involving people wearing blackface at this year´s event.
During this edition of the famous tradition, a member of Froggy Carr, in the Wench Brigade, and another person, were accused of wearing blackface. Froggy Carr was later disqualified from the competition.
But from the Mayor´s perspective this was a serious incident and demanded stronger measures.
You can read: Philly Major Jim Kenney condemns blackface Mummers
Kenney highlighted the parade´s significance to the city and its unique and recognizable character, however he added that “the behavior of a few participants has once again cast a shadow over that tradition.”
And it is precisely for these problems in the participants’ behavior that he warns a he warns about the possible cancelling of the event unless more effective control measures are taken.
“The future of the parade is in jeopardy if Mummers leadership does not make immediate changes to better control the parade and organize yourselves. To be specific: I will explore options such as hosting the City’s own New Year’s Day Parade or changing the City’s policies regarding informal cost forgiveness applicable to cultural parades,” said the mayor in the letter.
Likewise, his letter entioned the dark side of a festival that historically has expressed racist motivations.
“This parade has an infamous history of using racially and culturally insensitive themes, and the repeated inability of Mummers leadership to control the use of blackface by some participants threatens the City’s continued support for the parade,” the mayor wrote. “Despite your progress in recent years, every time a parade participant mocks our Black community through the willful, ignorant use of blackface, it exacerbates the parade’s association with racism and bigotry.”
He added, “Our diversity is Philadelphia’s greatest strength. In a proudly diverse city, you simply cannot alienate fellow Philadelphians who may see these hurtful images. You must understand the anger and frustration of those who feel strongly that taxpayer dollars and corporate funds should not be devoted to supporting this event. It is therefore critical that you take decisive steps to end this behavior for good.”
Mayor Kenney hopes to meet with Mummers leadership as soon as posible to find a solution that may preserve the existence of this significant festival.