Captain of Mummers club says criticism of skit based on misunderstanding

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The captain of a Mummers comic club is defending his group following accusations of racism.

The performance by the Finnegan New Years Brigade Comic Club during Tuesday's parade mocked Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's tiff with rapper Jay-Z over the Made in America concert.

A number of people, including City Council President Darrell Clarke, thought the man playing Jay-Z was made up to appear black and immediately criticized the parody.

But it turns out, the performer is actually African-American.

In addition, the satirical skit - which included a portrayal of Mayor Kenney as the rapper's lapdog - was pre-approved by the City of Philadelphia as part of their effort to prevent bigoted performances.

There was one caveat.

"If we have Jay-Z portrayed he must be a black American, we cannot use black paint, face paint, any type of makeup," said Finnegan NYB captain Mike Inemer. "The only makeup he did have on was the letter 'J' and the letter 'Z' on each cheek."

Late Wednesday, Clarke issued a revised statement saying in part, "Whatever the truth of yesterday's performance, the event, and related organizations have more work to do to make all Philadelphians feel welcomed and included in the annual New Year's Day Celebration."

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