updated 10/2/2008 5:48:09 PM ET 2008-10-02T21:48:09

The mayor appeared in blackface as part of a drag-queen beauty contest but apologized after a meeting with NAACP officials.

Arkansas City Mayor Mel Kuhn won the weekend fundraiser, in which he appeared in dark makeup and used a vulgar reference to female genitalia as his character name. The fundraiser was for Court Appointed Special Advocates, which supports foster children.

Kuhn's apology, posted on the Web site of the Wichita branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, came after a meeting Wednesday night with officials from the organization.

"I am sincerely sorry and I sincerely apologize for the offensive nature of my actions," Kuhn said in the statement. "I take full responsibility for my actions. The buck absolutely stops here."

Kuhn, mayor of the city of about 11,000 people near the Oklahoma border, did not return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment Thursday. According to census figures from 2000, the city is about 87 percent white and nearly 5 percent black.

Kevin Myles, president of the Wichita NAACP, said in an e-mail Thursday that he and two other members met with Kuhn after learning about the performance.

The mayor told The Arkansas City Traveler newspaper before meeting with the NAACP that he got the idea for the character from the movies "Norbit" and "Big Momma's House," which feature black men portraying black women.

Kuhn told the newspaper that his makeup didn't constitute blackface and that he did not really manage to carry out the character as a black woman; he said it ended up being more like a gypsy.

"I can't do a black accent," he said.

'Never heard that word'
He admitted the character's name was meant to be slang. The mayor also told the paper he informed CASA officials of his plans before the skit.

The Linda Groth, director of Court Appointed Special Advocates, said she noticed Kuhn's face was darker but didn't think he was trying to portray a different race.

"It wasn't black, black. It was all really just tan," she told the Traveler.

Groth said she was unaware of what the character's name meant until a reporter explained it.

"I never heard that word," Groth said. "But I understand exactly what you're saying, and I'm mortified of it."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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