England

Black History Month row over Zayn Malik image

Tweet Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The image of the singer has been withdrawn

A students' union has apologised for using the faces of Zayn Malik and Sadiq Khan - who both have Pakistani roots - to mark Black History Month.

Neither the former One Direction singer nor the mayor of London are black, and have no African or Caribbean heritage.

Other public figures chosen by Kent Union, which represents students from the University of Kent, include Dame Kelly Holmes and Sir Trevor McDonald.

Union president Rory Murray has apologised for "not getting it right".

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Social media posts released for the union's Black History Month campaign featuring Mr Malik and Mr Khan were withdrawn on Tuesday night.

The event's official UK organisers tweeted that they were "deeply disappointed at @KentUnion's ill thought and misdirected Black History Month celebrations".

"With Asian Heritage Month being observed by a growing number of countries in May, will Black icons be celebrated by Kent University then?" they asked.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Zayn Malik and Sadiq Khan are from British-Pakistani families

Mr Murray said: "I want to apologise on behalf of Kent Union to any individuals who were upset, uncomfortable or offended by the image shared.

"There was no intent for this to happen and I am very sorry to anybody who felt this way," he said.

"Whilst we made every effort to include black and minority ethnic students on the planning for the month, clearly, we haven't got it right on this occasion."

Image copyright Twitter

In a joint statement, Kent Union and the University of Kent said the campaign was in line with the National Union of Students' position on Black History Month which chose to "recognise and celebrate the immense contributions that people of African, Arab, Asian and Caribbean heritage make to humanity".

"In the planning stages Kent Union worked with students to develop a campaign that celebrated a range of ethnic cultures.

"However, we can see that many of our students disagree with the direction the campaign took and that a mistake was made," they said.

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