A Missouri woman claims that she was kicked out of the St. Louis African Arts Festival because she is white. KMOV News 4 spoke to Susan Stone, who said that when she was dancing, as many there were doing, a festival worker targeted her because of her race. Stone recounted, “He takes me and says, ‘You can't be doing this here. This is an African American event. You can't be at this event. You're not black.’”
Stone had her camera rolling and captured the conversation (video below), which, when reviewed, went differently than she seems to remember. The 2 minute, 24 second video recorded a conversation Ms. Stone had with two different event staffers. The first staffer informed Stone that she was blocking people’s view of the featured performers, so he asked her to sit down. To which Stone replied, “I’m the Dancer of Life. I do this all over.” Stone, who is a dancing instructor according to KMOV, was referencing her YouTube channel DanceofLifeDancer, where she posts videos of herself in eccentric costumes dancing at different St. Louis festivals. When the staffer tries to tell Stone that she doesn’t have to leave, she just has to sit down so others can enjoy the performers, she refuses saying, “I don’t sit down. I dance.” Stone told the station, “It’s supposed to be sharing you know, African culture with everybody. How can you do that if you run somebody out?”
The video continues, capturing Stone’s conversation with a second staffer. “You cannot come dressed like this, have your costume changes, and do what you’re doing in front of the people like this,” the male staffer said. “This character does not go with what this festival represents. This is the African Arts Festival. This is not the Ballerina Arts Festival. This is not the European Arts Festival. It is not the Caucasian Arts Festival.” Stone then agrees to leave when she is told she could speak to the festival owner and the video ends.
Jason McNairy, the festival’s co-chairman explained to KMOV that Stone was “disruptive between performances and was uncooperative when asked to stop.” Still, he feels his staffer went too far and said, “That's something that's kind of unacceptable and that's definitely an apology from me. Because like I said, all we want to do is we want everyone to showcase their talents, showcase their abilities.”
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- Susan Stone