This year, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority became the first Divine 9 Greek organization to be featured in Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc celebrates 100 years of service since being founded at Howard University in 1920. Members of the sorority performed a step routine while decked out in their signature royal blue and pure white colors.
But after their performance, Macy’s took to Twitter to showcase their performance and misidentified the sorority as a “dance group.”
“What’s that sound, you ask? Why it’s the diverse dance group, Zeta Phi Beta Steppers! Performing a special routine they put together to help us celebrate this unprecedented year. #MacysParade,” the caption read.
Macy’s has since deleted the tweet, but not before many on Twitter were able to call them out. One user said, “Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. ain’t exist for 100 years just for Macy’s to call them a ‘diverse dance group.’”
“Diverse dance group? Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated isn’t a dance group. It’s a historically Black international sorority,” wrote one user.
Another user voiced his frustration with the company when he stated, “I’m tired of businesses using Black entities (including Historically Black Sororities and Fraternities) as a means to look more “diverse” and accepting. It’s clear how performative this attempt was, due to your lack of research for your own parade performers.”
Stepping has a long history in Black communities and is practiced by people of all ages, according to Essence. Although it is most common in sororities and fraternities, many drill teams and churches have teams that perform step routines.
According to NPR, this year’s parade was unlike any other before. Because of COVID-19, Macy’s pre-recorded most segments and only filmed on one block in Manhattan. The scaled-back event also restricted all crowds.
As a result of the backlash, Macy’s has since issued another tweet praising the sorority and recognizing their achievements. However, the company failed to acknowledge their mistake or issue a formal apology.
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