UA homecoming queen candidate’s campaign sparks controversy 

Kayla Solino | @kaylasolino, Staff Reporter

Some UA students are calling McLean Moore’s homecoming queen campaign tone-deaf.

Moore’s logo features a color-block graphic of two girls, one white and one Black, imposed on a purple background alongside her campaign slogan, “Match with McLean.” The girl on the left, representing Moore, is wearing a crown and placing her left hand on the shoulders of a younger Black girl. 

Moore said the girl represents her “little sister” Kenyetta, who she mentors through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program. The BBBS program is her philanthropic organization.  

The logo elicited backlash on Twitter after Student Government Association Senator John Dodd tweeted a screenshot of the logo. He said Moore appears to use Kenyetta’s image for political gain.  

“I feel like this candidate is attempting to use a minority as a political prop, and I think it’s sad,” Dodd said. “Tokenism has no place in politics.” 

Freshman Gabby Kirk said she understood Moore’s intentions, but the logo missed the mark and was “extremely tone-deaf.”

“When you have a platform like McLean does and you’re running for something that’s important to UA, you have to be very considerate. You have to look at the optics,” Kirk said. “I don’t think her PR team took that into consideration when they made the logo.” 

Kirk said the average person may not read into the platform and could misinterpret the logo — especially considering the imagery of the crown and the placement of Moore’s hand on Kenyetta’s shoulder. 

Junior Utsav Basu said he didn’t initially realize Moore’s logo was connected to a homecoming queen campaign. He said it looked like a “white savior narrative.” The real image of Kenyetta compared to her portrayal in the logo concerned Basu. 

“It seems deliberate to have had the Black girl like half the size of the white woman,” Basu said. “The placement is as if she’s parading this project, that she’s treating this black girl as a project, and she’s parading her and trying to get some sort of vested interest from it.” 

Senior Dakota Cox said the logo “didn’t hit the mark” of promoting diversity.  

“If you’re [Moore, and the Machine] is putting in this much effort … why would you have this cartoonish picture of the homecoming queen with her arm around a younger Black girl, and what are you trying to represent there?” Cox said. “All the thoughts there just boils down to ignorance, in my opinion, especially when we think about the history of UA, the history of sorority life in UA.” 

The logo had “red flags” for sophomore Casey Buisson, but after seeing real images of Moore and Kenyetta, he said he recognized more serious issues.

“I could already see tokenization, but then learning that [Kenyetta] was shrunk down from the original picture … between the tokenization and infantilization, just every warning sign of a white savior went off in my head,” Buisson said. 

Sophomore Brooklynn Coleman agreed that Moore’s logo portrays a “white savior mentality.” 

“She didn’t need a Black girl as her logo, but she wanted to meet the Black vote. And so that’s why she did that,” Coleman said. 

McLean’s Machine-backed campaign raised additional concern for Buisson, who called the logo a representation of the culture the Machine supports. 

“The fact that she’s affiliated with the Machine just makes it so much worse,” Buisson said. “Knowing the history that they have and that they put this out … it reinforces how they view people of other races.” 

McLean Moore did not respond to requests for comment. Big Brothers, Big Sisters of West Alabama could not be reached in time for publication.