Macy's criticized for calling Black sorority a 'diverse dance group' during Thanksgiving Day Parade
"What's that sound, you ask? Why it's the diverse dance group, Zeta Phi Beta Steppers!" Macy's said in the ill-advised tweet that appears to have since been deleted. "Performing a special routine they put together to help us celebrate this unprecedented year."
MSNBC's "The ReidOut" host Joy Reid responded, "Um... hey @Macys that’s not a 'dance group.' Zeta Phi Beta is a Black sorority founded at Howard U in 1920 and part of the Divine Nine."
The Divine Nine, is an organization of nine Black sororities and fraternities, including Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, that compose the National Pan-Hellenic Council.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, an Alpha Kappa Alpha, is notably a Divine Nine member.
When and how to watch:What to know about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Kamala Harris and Alpha Kappa Alpha: Black sorority was a source for life lessons, sisterhood
Critics took to social media to voice their frustrations, including user @taddmike, who said the description "reductive."
"zeta phi beta sorority, inc. is an international black greek-lettered sorority founded in 1920 that prides itself on being a servant leader in the community," the Twitter user wrote. " 'diverse dance group' is a reductive description — y’all missing the bigger picture here."
"Zeta Phi Beta Steppers are not a 'diverse dance group,' tweeted @Boeing74. "They are a 100 yr old sorority that has focused on social causes. Stepping is a tradition that dates back to the 1900s when slaves used this form of dance as way to communicate."
Others accused Macy's decision to include Zeta Phi Beta steppers in the Thanksgiving day parade as "performative."
"I’m tired of businesses using Black entities (including Historically Black Sororities and Fraternities) as a means to look more 'diverse' and accepting," tweeted @_AwesomeKid. "It’s clear how performative this attempt was, due to your lack of research for your own parade performers."
User @LeslieStreeter added: "Once again we see the need for diverse newsrooms and social media staff."
Following the backlash, Macy's issued another tweet with a proper description without acknowledging the misstep or issuing an apology.
"Look who just STEPPED things up. We loved having @ZPHIBHQ — an international, historically Black Sorority —with us at the #MacysParade for their centennial," Macy's tweeted.
Zeta Phi Beta's "Centennial Steppers" joined the Macy's parade in celebration of the sorority's 100th anniversary. Zeta Phi Beta was founded on January 16, 1920, at the historically black university Howard University.
"Congratulations again to our Centennial Steppers who performed in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade this year! You all were #Finer and represented Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated well!" Zeta Phi Beta wrote on its official Twitter account.
"No, thank YOU for joining us this year!" @Macys replied.