Kemper, 41, received heat this past week after photos surfaced of her being crowned the “Queen of Love and Beauty” at the Veiled Prophet Ball (now called the Fair Saint Louis) in 1999.
The Veiled Prophet Organization was originally co-founded in the late 1800s by former Confederate officer Charles Slayback and other prominent white St. Louisans — who only permitted white people to participate up until 1979.
“Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I’ll tell ya what to do ????,” he added, as Kemper replied in the comments, “I love you Tituss,” with three heart emojis.
In her statement shared this past Monday, Kemper started off by saying: “Hi guys, when I was 19 years old, I decided to participate in a debutante ball in my hometown.”
“The century-old organization that hosted the debutante ball had an unquestionably racist, sexist and elitist past. I was not aware of the history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse,” Kemper continued. “I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved.”
“I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy,” Kemper added. “At the same time, I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards.”
Kemper then proceeded to address the backlash Kemper received, sharing: “There is a very natural temptation when you become the subject of internet criticism, to tell yourself that your detractors are getting it all wrong. But at some point last week, I realized that a lot of the forces behind the criticism are forces that I’ve spent my life supporting and agreeing with.”
“I believe strongly in the values of kindness, integrity and inclusiveness. I try to live my life in accordance with these values,” Kemper continued. “If my experience is an indication that organizations and institutions with pasts that fall short of these beliefs should be held to account, then I have to see this experience in a positive light.”
Kemper then ended her statement with an apology, stating: “I want to apologize to the people I’ve disappointed, and I promise that moving forward I will listen, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege in support of the better society I think we’re capable of becoming. Thanks for reading this.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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