Video of Princeton High students and graduates singing Pop Smoke’s ‘Dior’ stirs controversy (updated)

A screenshot of students dancing to “Dior.” Faces have been blocked out because some of the students are minors. We are not posting the video clip because of the offensive language of the song and because some of the students are minors.

Video clips of a group of white Princeton High School students and recent graduates dancing to Pop Smoke’s “Dior” at a party have stirred controversy among students and parents in the community because of the use of the n-word in the song, as well as the lack of social distancing at the party.

A recent graduate who attended the party recorded friends singing and dancing to Dior and then turned the camera on herself and a friend as they laughed. She put the video clip on Snapchat. The video was seen and shared by students at the high school who found it offensive. In one version of the video, a student added the text of the lyrics being sung to an abridged video clip so people would know what was being sung. One of the most offensive lines of the song that is in the video is “Bit_ _ …, get me lit. I can’t f_ _k with these Ni_ _as ’cause N_ _ _ _ s is gay.”

Black students and recent graduates who reached out to Planet Princeton about the video said it is one more example of racist incidents that have taken place at the school in recent years. This spring, a sophomore post a video on social media mocking Africans. In 2017, a student complained on Instagram that he was “on the bus with a bunch of n_ _ _ _ _ _.” In 2016, students at the high school were captured in photos playing a drinking game called Jews vs. Nazis beer pong.

The video raises issues that have come up in some of the other incidents about what constitutes racism, acceptable teen social behavior, teens and social media, and the question of what a public school district’s role is regarding the behavior of students outside of school.

Over the weekend, the video was shared on the public Instagram page @dearwhitepeoplenj, a page used to expose racism in New Jersey. Students said the video was deleted multiple times after Princeton High School students reported it as hate speech.

“This video stands as another example of the racism that not only plagues Princeton High School but Princeton, New Jersey itself,” one Black Princeton High School student told Planet Princeton. “Princeton High School’s refusal to discipline these students and put forth a required racial literacy course allows for this racist behavior to continue within its walls.”

In a social media post in the Princeton High School Class of 2020 Facebook group, a student who was at the party countered that the video clip with the text imposed on it removes the context of the singing and dancing. The student and a lawyer representing his family have blamed the Black student for sharing the edited post. The lawyer sent letters Tuesday to people who have shared the video, threatening legal action if they don’t remove the video and any screenshots. The lawyer contends that the videos were ‘maliciously” edited to give a false impression that the teens dancing were promoting racist and anti-LGTBQ sentiments. “This was not the case at all,” wrote the lawyer in a letter obtained by Planet Princeton. “The teenagers in the video gathered for a final gathering to celebrate their high school graduations before they begin their college careers.”

According to the lawyer, the teens did not plan to engage in bigoted conduct or harm others. The lawyer said the teens “engage in activities to promote equality in our society among all races, persons, sexual orientations, and gender identities.”

Distress from Black students who saw the video and were offended by the lyrics prompted Princeton High School Principal Jessica Baxter to write a note to parents on Sunday. Baxter wrote that she had been in touch with families and students to discuss the video and hoped there would be a continued dialogue about the issues after summer break is over.

“In talking to other students not involved in the video I hear their hurt and disappointment in their classmates, both with their actions when the video was posted as well as their silence that followed,” she wrote. “These are teenagers and they are trying to make sense of why, in 2020 and with everything going on in our world right now, their peers/friends/classmates thought that singing along to offensive lyrics would be okay.”

Baxter said if school were in session or there was not a global pandemic, she would bring all of these students together to talk and learn from each other.

“The options right now are zoom calls and social media conversations. Unfortunately, social media conversations are not very productive and there is a lot of name calling, blaming, and defensive arguments,” Baxter wrote. “Not a lot of learning is coming out of these conversations. We need face-to-face interaction most right now, and we can’t have it.”

Baxter encouraged parents to discuss the consequences of social media posts with children. “Please talk with them proactively about being reflective on their actions and practices in the current context of the world so they can better identify ways to recognize what may be hurtful to others,” Baxter wrote.

“Our children are not perfect. They make mistakes, and that is why we are here, to teach them to be accountable and learn from them. One of the saddest things I heard from a student this weekend was that she was ‘okay’ and ‘expected it’,” Baxter wrote. “Our children should not expect to be hurt by their friends. While it may be summer, and I do not have jurisdiction and cannot control what happens outside of school, I still have an obligation to be there for my students and to do more.”

Baxter wrote that seven staff members at Princeton High School and John Witherspoon Middle School are working on an online racial literacy course to be offered in the coming school year.

More than 150 people attended the online school board meeting on Tuesday night. The zoom room was full and some people could not attend. Others joined the meeting late. Some parents wanted to comment about the video incident. Others listening in on the zoom call were parents of some of the students in the video.

Resident Ashante Thompson asked whether the board had discussed the video and said she had trouble joining the meeting earlier.

“This is something that needs to be addressed,” she said of the video. “The response and letter to families was not okay. We keep having all these conversations about restorative justice and equity meetings. But we need to move forward as a district and make people be accountable and responsible. There is a discussion going on in the town that is not a good discussion about Princeton High School.

The interim superintendent for the school district said according to the school board’s lawyer, under New Jersey law, in order for a district to discipline a student for off-campus conduct must have a nexus into the school. “This is a parental matter,” Interim Superintendent Barry Galasso said.

Thompson said she wasn’t looking for discipline. “I’m looking for honest conversations,” she said. “These are still our children and they represent Princeton High School.”


  1. The students were singing along to a popular song by an African-American rapper. It’s not the case that they came up with the offensive lyrics. Those lyrics are offensive but the song hasn’t been banned. Instead, it has been picked up a song for protestors in marches for George Floyd. Can we all relax a little bit and gain some perspective here? The students were just having fun with a song that has been recently used in BLM marches. That’s what kids do.

    1. it shouldn’t have mattered if they meant no harm or had pure intentions. most of the students in the video are 18 and going into college and some were rising seniors. they are all aware of the gravity behind the n word but they still chose to say it. singing along or not they chose to say the n word then post it on social media. so no, it’s not what “kids do.” they’re grown adults and they need to realize there are consequences for their actions/words. it’s a conversation that NEEDS to happen.

      1. If it’s such an offensive song, then why is it being used at protests? The song is offensive, but we need to object to it everywhere. Let’s not single out these students.

    2. Uh no honey bun. The man who sang the song is BLACK so he has every right to use the n word, as the Black community has now reclaimed the word. When a white person uses the word, this is racist. Whether it’s in a song or not. You shouldn’t tell POC to “relax a little bit”. We are angry and completely disgusted by this video and we have every right to be. Try Again Karen

      1. You calling white people “Karen” is no better than white people calling black people “nigger.” Instead of the blame and shame, why don’t we all think of ways we can come together? That is the ONLY way through this.

    3. Anonymous you must be the lawyer or a Karen for these racist white kids and their equally super rich racist parents who think they can threaten people with their lawyer letters. Only in woke Princeton. They should be reported to their prospective colleges so their offers can be rescinded and principal Baxter needs to stop protecting her white children. Black children and Black parents are hurting because of the inaction of the school when it comes to the lack of discipline for white student breaking the rules and acting racist. The acting superintendent response was weak and lame. The New York Times needs to run this story just like they did with the beer pong game. Let’s break the bubble once and for all!

      1. It’s ironic that the two letter above use deliberate sexist language and name-calling to protest what they believe was a racist incident. The letters are also being rude and insensitive to all the Karens out. The students weren’t trying to harass anyone. They were in the privacy of their home. It would be illegal and immoral for school or government to take any action here as no law or policy was broken. Who will be hurt if the government and police are allowed to charge and arrest citizens for perfectly legal behavior in their own home? This is the type of government involvement we’re trying to curtail, not encourage.

  2. According to the hyperlink provided, discipline can only be issued to a student after an off-campus incident if “ 1) the discipline is reasonably necessary for the student’s physical or emotional safety, security, and well-being, or for reasons related to the safety, security, and well-being of other students, staff, or school grounds and; (2) the conduct which is the subject of the proposed consequence materially, and substantially, interferes with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school. N.J.A.C. 6A:16-7.5.”

    How does being blatantly racist not effect the emotional safety, security, and well-being of BIPOC students? Does this not interfere with proper requirements because there isn’t any put in place to begin with? These students may be in school to learn, but it shouldn’t take until you’re in high school to learn not to use racial slurs or derogatory terms. Do better Princeton. Instead of white school board members coming up with what’s best to prevent this from happening in the future, listen to the voices of BIPOC residents that have been SCREAMING for assistance!!

    1. The suggestion that the government punish students for legal behavior that occurred in the privacy of their home is shocking.

  3. The white kids sang a black rapper song. They are not racist. Their actions were unknowingly racist. The black people claimed the N word and they are the only ones who can say the N word ?? This clearly shows their ignorance.

    Most people are not racist and don’t think about racism because they don’t practice it. All of a sudden, black ppl are using the moment to jump on the band wagon about racism and demand people care about their race, people who never cared about racism because it never was an issue and thus not thought about. Respect ( equal rights ) are earned not assumed. Any race gets respected by acting properly / law abiding to earn that respect. You didn’t see the Jewish race rioting when 75% of their entire race was killed, no, they regrouped, had a real legal plan and regained their race and their respect.

    Any race that’s been harmed needs to regain their respect legally and work HARD to re-establish themselves. The Black ppl don’t have an agenda on how to regain respect. They have weak and unorganized leadership at current. Until they understand how the legal system works to gain what they want, they will continue to fail and kill each other with violence. Black on black crime has skyrocketed lately, not the way to gain respect in this country.

    Claiming racism is no excuse for working hard to achieve any goal. All races must be accountable. When that issue is fixed, the respect will come, and with respect comes success.

    Yours truly…… From a black guy.

  4. This reminds me (and many others) of the Nazi Beer Pong incident. “Student leaders” pouring beer into cups in the shape of a swastika. One was even the son of a PPS employee, likely part of the reason no consequences were given. These students retained leadership positions on campus. Whether the school takes meaningful action or not, all of the participants have to know that these images may never disappear.

  5. Those rich white kids with their woke Karen parents, who listen to and buy the songs, are helping those musical artists become millionaires. Just sayin….

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