Derbyshire band refuses to apologise for ‘blackface’ act

Natasha March.
Natasha March.
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A controversial Derbyshire band has refused to apologise after one of its members performed wearing black shoe polish on his face – upsetting a mixed-race woman.

Natasha March said she endured sleepless nights following the “racist” act by the Village Idiots at a charity gig in memory of her late brother in Dronfield Woodhouse.

When questioned by the Derbyshire Times today, a Village Idiots spokesman said: “We won’t apologise.

“It wasn’t a racist act – it was fancy dress, it’s as simple as that.

“The particular band member was representing Ray Charles.

“We despise racism and we’re hurt at Natasha’s accusation and other things she’s said.

“It’s been a tough time and we’d like to thank everyone who’s backing us.

“The whole thing has been blown way out of proportion and we’re forgetting the fact that the event was wonderful and raised lots of money.”

The Derbyshire Times asked the spokesman if the band could see why Natasha deemed the performance to be offensive.

He replied: “A lot of things can be seen as being offensive.

“We’ve previously dressed up as the Village People – does this make us homophobic?

“If we put on a dress would this be offensive to women?”

Natasha – who said she left Dronfield Woodhouse after suffering years of “systematic racist abuse” while growing up there – was adopted by Paul Dungworth’s family as a baby.

Paul suffered cystic fibrosis all his life and died aged 31 in 2008 after developing bowel, liver and lung cancer.

The Paul Dungworth Charity Music Festiva has become an annual and popular event, raising many thousands of pounds for good causes in his memory.

This year it raised a grand total of £5,221.94.

Natasha, 36, who now lives in Manchester, said it was a “racist show” and that she felt “disgusted” by it.

She added: “When I went back home to Manchester I was very upset.

“How dare they use black skin – never mind blindness – as a cheap joke in the name of charity.

“I did not sleep for two nights.

“I began to mourn for my brother again and recall my tormented childhood years.

“Paul would not want the band to behave like this.

“Do they realise how offensive it is?”

In a previous statement the band said: “We shall return bigger, better and more in your face than ever before.”

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