Native American group protests OutKast's Grammy act -- They're offended by Andre 3000's arbitrary use of feathers, war paint, and a tepee in the dance routine for ''Hey Ya!''

By Gary Susman
Updated February 12, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Outkast: imothy A. Clary/AFP/NewsCom

Another group wants to boycott CBS after being offended by the dance performance of a singer in a nipple-revealing costume. This time, the offender is OutKast’s Andre 3000, whose use of Native American costumes and props during his ”Hey Ya!” number at Sunday’s Grammys has prompted the boycott call by the San Francisco-based Native American Cultural Center, E! Online reports. ”We’re not attacking OutKast as artists,” the group’s chairman, Andrew Brother Elk, told E! on Wednesday. ”They can go out and make fools of themselves if they want to, but we are going to question the commercialization of our symbols.”

Brother Elk said his group objected to the ”fake tepee,” the dancers’ feathered headdresses, the braided wigs, and the ”war paint.” He used an analogy to Orthodox Jews to explain why the group was offended by the seemingly arbitrary use of such sacred symbols. ”If people were wearing yarmulkes and the Hasidic dress and bumping and grinding, we would see that as ridiculous, but for some reason we don’t see what OutKast did as ridiculous,” he said. ”Our point is: How could no one [involved in the production of the broadcast] say, ‘This is not entertainment, this is racism?”’

The Cultural Center boycott call, detailed on the group’s website, also includes the Recording Academy and Arista Records, OutKast’s label. CBS has issued an apology, saying in a statement that the network is ”very sorry if anyone was offended” by Andre’s performance. There has been no word yet from the Academy or Arista.