After coming under fire Sunday night, UK retailer H&M issued a public apology Monday morning in regards to posing a Black child model in a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoodie:
“This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”
H&M’s apology came after hours of late-night outrage in response to a tweet shared by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow:
A firestorm of social media fury
This one tweet sparked a firestorm of fury as social media users shared and commented on the image on the H&M commerce site depicting a little black boy posing in a ‘Coolest Monkey in the Jungle’ hoodie:
Why all the fuss?
The term “monkey” has been used as a racial slur against Blacks for centuries. So much so that when I gave birth to my beautiful black Prince, I swore I’d never allow him to wear anything with monkeys. No jungles, no bananas … none of that. So I have no idea why any parent or guardian would willingly give any company permission to pose their child in such a garment.
Some say H&M had no ill intent and that may be true, but I’m deeply concerned that the H&M team placed the Black boy in a “monkey in the jungle” hoodie while a white child model is shown in a hoodie that reads, “Survival Expert”:
Songwriter Wendy Parr ain’t buying the “unintentional mistake” argument:
Now, the million-dollar question is who in the heck cleared this photo for print. Models for Diversity, a British-based organization advocating for more inclusion in the fashion industry, was one of many groups questioning how the photo made it through marketing teams and out into the world:
Welp, H&M has apologized so it’s all good, right? Sooo, do YOU believe this nothing more than a “mishap” due to marketing carelessness, a lack of cultural awareness or bad styling decisions? OR do you believe it was a case of intentional racism and H&M simply got caught “red-handed”?