Philly Mayor threatens to end Mummers parade after scandal
Mayor Jim Kenney wrote a letter to the five presidents of the Mummers demanding the leaders to make improvements for the upcoming annual Mummers Parade in order to keep the tradition from being canceled.
This comes weeks after the 2020 Mummers Parade where two mummers under the club Froggy Carr were wearing a blackface. This resulted to the South Philly-based wench brigade from being disqualified from the competition portion of the annual New Year's Day tradition. The Philly mayor tweeted "The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable. This selfish, hateful behavior has no place in the Mummers, or the city itself. We must be better than this. The group was disqualified and we will be exploring additional penalties."
The club had said that the two men who wore blackface actually broke from their ranks and applied the paint after the parade started. They went behind to paint their faces after their costumes were checked by club readers. Their actions were not approved of and they will never be allowed to march in the Mummers Parade ever again. They are now making sure that these men will not be a part of the Mummers group.
Kenney was a member of the club earlier in his life and is now giving recommendations as to how the Mummers group can further improve themselves and the working relationship between them and the city government. He is also asking the managing director to organize a meeting with the Mummers' five president to address the issue.
In the copy of the letter obtained by WHYY, Kenney threatened to remove the Mummers' parade and make a new New Year's tradition, even changing the city's policies regarding the informal cost forgiveness applicable to cultural parades. He wrote that the parade's infamous history of being culturally insensitive and the Mummers leadership unable to control the participants' rowdy behavior is exacerbating the parade's association with racism and bigotry.
Kenney believes that diversity is Philadelphia's greatest strength. It is a diverse city and they must not alienate fellow Philadelphians who might be offended or hurt by these actions. The Mummers and other citizens must understand the anger and frustration of those who strongly feel that taxpayer dollars and corporate funds should not be devoted in supporting the event.
He says it is critical that the Mummers become critical and make decisive acts in ending this behavior for good. Should the Mummers fail in making these necessary changes, then the parade will be ended and its legacy tainted by bigotry and hatred. Not of the hard-work, dedication and celebration as it was known in his, Mayor Kenney's, youth.