The tribute act performing last night at the BallSaskia Ross

Robinson May Ball Committee has issued an apology after a Beyoncé tribute act which performed at the ball, held last night, sparked controversy.

Leanne Harper, who began a set at 3:50 am on the event’s main stage early this morning, has previously been criticised for using cosmetics to darken her skin for performances.

Some took to social media to voice their anger at the performance, with incoming CUSU Women's Officer Lola Olufemi tweeting about the incident the following morning. 

Speaking to Varsity, Presidents of the Robinson May Ball Committee Tasha Robinson and Becky Mackett made the following statement:

“We would like to sincerely apologise for any offence caused by the Beyoncé tribute act at Robinson May Ball last night. This was a bona fide act booked through a recognised agency, and no offence was intended by any member of the Committee or anyone associated with it. We will happily receive any comments or issues raised by attendees and those affected – please address these to the Committee at We will be working with next year’s Committee to avoid similar occurrences. Finally, we would like to reiterate our apologies and thank all guests for their patience and understanding in this matter.”

The singer, who performs as Beeyonce, courted controversy in May this year when her planned performance at Durham Pride was cancelled. Several organisations had announced their intention to protest the event as a result of her appearance. These included Durham University Labour Club, who posted a Facebook status about their decision to boycott: “After a lot of controversy over Durham Pride’s inaccessibility issues, and their decision to hire a black face performer, with a heavy heart, DULC’s exec has decided that we will not be officially attending Durham Pride this year.”

A man was arrested, and later cautioned for a racially aggravated public order offence, prior to Durham Pride, after Harper alleged she had received online death threats.