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Hundreds join Amber Rose at Pershing Square for SlutWalk

In a scene that was half-red carpet paparazzi circus, half-political protest, several hundred people joined stripper turned model Amber Rose at Pershing Square on Saturday afternoon for an event dubbed SlutWalk.

The event was promoted as a way to express "outrage toward issues of sexual violence, gender inequality, derogatory labeling and victim blaming."

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The mostly female crowd, some shirtless, others in costume and in various states of dress, carried signs declaring "My Clothes Are Not My Consent" and "The Way I Dress Does Not Mean Yes." 

Rose, bearing a sign that read "Strippers Have Feelings Too," led the group on a brief march up and down Olive Street as curious tourists and shoppers, and a few hecklers, watched.

It was the latest in a series of so-called slut walks, a type of political performance that began in Toronto in 2011 in protest after a police officer told a group of college students that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

The Los Angeles event drew a broad cross-section of women, including fans who simply wanted a chance to see Rose and the other celebrity guests, as well as rape survivors and sex workers.

Friends D'Mere Burnley, 24, and Alyssa Anderson, 21, of Palmdale said they have a personal connection to the issue of violence against women.

Burnley, who described herself as a domestic violence survivor, said she had been involved in women's issues for years, including performing in "The Vagina Monologues" and volunteering at a women's shelter. She carried a sign that read, "Don't Believe Him When He Says I Love You. Love Doesn't Hurt."

She said SlutWalk's provocative title helps spread the message.

"You get to spread the word just by telling people you're going," she said.

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Anderson described herself as an abuse survivor as well and, "as of last year, a new feminist." She said she was converted after listening to Beyonce's song "Flawless," which includes a monologue musing on feminism.

Some of the attendees said they were drawn by the star power of Rose, who first came into the limelight in 2008 when she was dating rapper Kanye West. 

Courtney Scott, 22, attended with her mother and sister from Los Alamitos after learning about the event on Rose's Instagram. She said she wanted to spread the message against "slut shaming," but also was excited to catch a glimpse of Rose.

"She's really comfortable in who she is," Scott said. "She's not ashamed of her past."

There were some parts of Rose's past that she evidently wanted to avoid discussing Saturday, however.

A document distributed to media covering the event listed "approved topics" of coverage, including "Amber Rose Slut Walk LA," "feminist platform," "other projects/business ventures Amber is working on," and "Amber's fashion."

It added the injunction: "No Questions regarding Kanye West or Kim Kardashian."

Follow Abby Sewell on Twitter at @sewella.

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