NORMAN, OKLAHOMA– The white-haired woman’s face beams as the camera gets closer to her face. She’s sitting on a couch, with a University of Oklahoma shirt draped behind her and a rap song playing in the background.
Suddenly, the words spew from lips: “Ni****, ni****, ni****, ni****, ni****, ni****, ni*****!”
The release of the Vine video, featuring the house mother of the campus’ Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter, couldn’t come at a worse time — just days after video surfaced of frat members singing a racist song.
But Beauton Gilbow, the fraternity’s house mother, insists she’s not racist. And two black alumni of the fraternity house agree with the woman they call “Mom B.”
“I have been made aware that a video of me that is circulating on social media and in the news,” Gilbow said in a statement. “I am heartbroken by the portrayal that I am in some way racist. I have friends of all race and do not tolerate any form of discrimination in my life.”
The song in the background was the sound of “All Gold Everything” from Trinidad James — a black, Atlanta-based rapper.
“I was singing along to a Trinidad song, but completely understand how the video must appear in the context of the events that occurred this week.”
William Bruce James II, the most recent black member at the fraternity chapter, said no one should use the n-word in any context — even if it’s just a song.
“That word needs to die,” James told CNN Tonight. “With that being said, I don’t believe that Mom B. has hatred in her heart. I was there with her for four years. She took great care of me … she cared about me, she cares about my family. She had pictures of me, my wife, my children on the entryway table in that house. Mom B means a lot to me.”
James said he has reached to Mom B. after the Oklahoma Daily newspaper posted the clip, which was shot in 2013.
“I essentially said, ‘Hey, don’t ever use that word again, even in a song. But from me, you’re forgiven.’ ”
Jonathon Davis, the first African-American member of the campus’ SAE chapter, also defended “Mom B.”
“I wouldn’t even hesitate for a split second to say that Mom B. is undoubtedly not a racist,” Davis said.
“I see her as being caught up in the moment. She does like to mix it up socially, and she likes to have fun with the guys and their dates they bring over to the house. And I see this as maybe her getting caught away with the moment.”
OU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter unraveled this week after video showed frat brothers singing about excluding black students and alluding to lynching.
“There will never be a ni**** SAE,” some chanted. “You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me. There will never be a ni**** SAE.”
After the fraternity chapter was suspended — but before her own video was publicized — Gilbow told CNN affiliate KOCO-TV that she was blindsided by the controversy.
“I feel like the rug has been pulled out from under me,” she said. “This has been my life for 15 years. And it’s tough.”
In the end, the SAE chapter was forced to close. Two students have been expelled. And it’s not clear what the next chapter is for Mom B.