Ya Ya Club under fire from Lorde for costume ball

Lorde has called an exclusive club of wealthy young Aucklanders an "embarrassing hot mess" after they announced what some regard as a culturally insensitive theme for their first ball.

The Ya Ya Club, which includes prime minister's son Max Key, said it would hold a "Costume Internationale" ball in April.

"Intriguing Geisha Twins? Seductive Sari Queens? Powerful Egyptian Gods? Striking Pacifica Princes/s? You choose!" was posted to the club's Facebook and Instagram pages.

It was on Instagram that singing icon Lorde weighed in: "lol what an embarrassing hot mess".

The club responded: "Hot messes are like chaos & disturbance: sometimes you need it to shake things up to get unexpected best. That's what I love about change & learning!"

Part-Samoan rapper PNC (real name Sam Hansen) defended the party on Instagram saying: "Guess flying off the handle about a small costume party, for people you don't care about, seems a little OTT [over the top]".

Other New Zealand personalities have weighed in on Twitter such as Rotorua singer Lizzie Marvelly who wrote: "So @lordemusic just hit the nail on the head. Again. Who are these presumably extremely ignorant people? #yayaclub"

TV3 weather presenter Kanoa Lloyd, who recently faced backlash for using Maori words on her broadcasts, also tweeted: "Yaya nahnah".

The Ya Ya Club initially came to media attention last year when Max Key's DJ group, Troskey, debuted at one of their events

In January the organiser of the Ya Ya Club, Phoebe Loloma Trezevant-Miller, was quoted as saying: "You won't hear the flick of a jandal as I walk up to the barbecue." 

"It's hard to push through to the other side of New Zealand's relaxed dress code barrier," she said.

"If you do you're noticed, criticised, commented on and often made to feel unwelcome."

The club offers numbered black cards. Benefits include first-dibs for tickets and free drinks.

"Black cards aren't bought, they're given," Trezevant-Miller said.

Trezevant-Miller responded to the criticism by saying she wanted to focus on what she can do.

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That included a new "time-sensitive project which we wish to reveal more about before the 'Bal du Monde' event to help raise the much-needed funds to launch it."


It's not the first time significant backlash has occurred after a brand or group has tried to use another culture's identity.

Last year Dame Trelise Cooper apologised after causing offence when she used a Native American head-dress in her catwalk show.

"I unreservedly apologise and regret any offence I have caused through using Native American head-dress in my catwalk show," she said.

"I genuinely respect and honour all cultures, races and religions. It was never my intention to disrespect another culture.

"It is my hope that through my mistake and ignorance, like me, people now know and are aware of the sacredness of the head dress to Native Americans."

Last year Rhythm and Vines music festival also apologised and removed a poster depicting two women dressed as Native Americans.

"We sincerely apologise for the image used and any offence this may have caused," the festival wrote in a tweet.

"The use of this image was inappropriate and has been removed."

Comments on the story have now been closed. 

 - Stuff.co.nz


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