A councilman-elect in a tiny South Jersey borough is apologizing for wearing a blackface Halloween costume.

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Vincent Kelly, a Republican elected to the Pitman Borough Council in Gloucester County, wore a blackface Flava Flav costume in 2008 and shared a photo of it to social media. It was his Facebook profile picture for a time.

Last Friday, Kelly defended his costume and said he didn’t have a racist bone in his body. But after a backlash and calls for him to resign he’s saying he’s sorry and that he’ll reach out to the Pitman Anti-Racist Collective for an open, honest dialogue.


Judy Walker with the Pitman Anti-Racist Collective shared the photo that was posted on the Republican Councilman’s personal Facebook page.

“In 2008 I purchased and wore a Flavor Flav costume to a Halloween party where guests were expected to dress as a celebrity. At the time Flavor Flav’s yelling of “yeahhh boy” made him incredibly popular, wearing the costume was a celebration of his fame.”

“I do understand that we live in a very different time and today, even as a celebration of one’s fame, I would not even consider wearing a costume that included blackface. I apologize to anyone who may be hurt by my costume choice of years ago and will soon reach out to the Pitman Anti-Racist Collective so we can hopefully schedule a meeting and have some open, honest dialogue.”

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