Lincoln Co NAACP unhappy with comedian performing for police lod - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Lincoln Co NAACP unhappy with comedian performing for police lodge

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LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -

For the leadership of Lincoln County's NAACP, it is not a laughing matter. Debra C. Williams is the Lincoln County Branch NAACP President, and she is angered by the fact that the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is bringing in a comedian that some say is controversial. 

"These are the people who are supposed to protect us, but behind closed doors, they're making fun of us," she said. "It's time for the community to take a stand."

The man FOP Lodge 85 hired is Willie P. Richardson, who bills himself as a clean comic.

What some find offensive is the fact that Richardson is white, but in many instances his act is delivered in blackface makeup.

"The FOP Lodge 85 unanimously voted to go ahead with the show," said FOP spokesperson Spencer Summers. "The comedian is not going to do it in makeup. He's [going to] do it in regular face."

If there is a place that can sense the pulse of the community, look no further than the courthouse square in Downtown Lincolnton.

There, business owners question the logic behind the FOP decision.

Richard Jones, who operates a downtown book store, said, "This does give us a black eye. I think it will take a little bit to recover from this."

Next door to the bookstore at the City Lunch Restaurant, Angela Kiser, who runs the diner, sees both sides.

"One part, he is a comedian. On the other part it is a little offensive," Kiser said. "I think it's taking it too far."

The FOP Lodge 85 released a statement that said, in part, "Lodge #85 is a diverse organization made up of police officers and sheriff's deputies from local law enforcement agencies. Members of all races voted to have the comedy benefit concert with Willie P. Richardson."

The statement went on to say, "The fact is the race of Willie P. Richardson was never discussed," and that members were only familiar with the comedian from his skits on the radio.

The FOP said that on Monday "A diverse group of our members unanimously voted to continue with the comedy benefit concert featuring Willie P. Richardson. The motion was made by an African American member and seconded by another African American member of Lodge #85."

The performance has been rescheduled from June 28 to August 16.

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