Cambridge University apologises over 'blacked up Beyonce' act at college bash

Mary Gallagher

Cambridge University has landed itself in hot water for employing the services of Beyoncé impersonator, Leanne Harper, who sang at their annual May ball.

Beyonce impersonator Leanne Harper and Beyonce (Instagram/PA)

The singer, who is white, performs under the moniker ‘Beyoncee’ and took to the stage at Robinson College’s annual May Ball event last month, but some students and alumni were left stunned when they realised she was slathered in fake tan and wasn’t actually from black origin at all, according to Cambridge News.

But the act enraged party goers, who took to Twitter to express their disapproval.


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Punters paid up to £125 for tickets to see Beyoncee, as well as a number of other acts at the ‘Circus’ themed bash.

Harper kicked off her set at 3:50am and videos of the event show the crowd enthusiastically jumping around to a string of Beyoncé’s hits.

But Lola Olufemi, the incoming women’s officer for the college, tweeted: “I don’t kno (sic) what smacked more, the fact that in 2017 organizers couldn’t do a common google search 2 check the validity of their performer.

Queen Bey at the 2016 BET Awards. (Photo: AKM-GSI)

“Or being reminded, even at one of your final events @ camb, surrounded by friends you love, that black people at this uni get no REST”.

She added: “Imagine I paid money to see a white woman pretend to be Beyoncé & my white peers hooting and hollering dancing along like it’s nothing.”

Explaining the booking in a statement, the presidents of the Robinson May Ball Committee, Tasha Robinson and Becky Mackett, said: “We would like to sincerely apologise for any offence caused by the Beyoncé tribute act at Robinson May Ball.


“This was a bona fide act booked through a recognised agency and no offence was intended by any member of the committee or anyone associated with it.

“We will happily receive any comments or issues raised by attendees and those affected.

“We will be working with next year’s committee to avoid similar occurrences.

“Finally, we would like to reiterate our apologies and thank all guests for their patience and understanding in this matter.”

Beyonce gave birth to twins last week.

Last month, Harper was forced to cancel a performance at Durham Pride over a public backlash to her appearance by students there.

At the time, she was quoted as saying: “Never in all the years have I had anything like this before.

“I only put on St Tropez tan like I would for a night out.”

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