After retailer, H&M apologised for an advertisement that was racially insensitive, there are chances that the cultural judgment against the company is still not over. This isn’t the first time a well-known global brand has been at the centre of a racial controversy, a few months ago Dove was also in similar trouble.
The clothing brand released a photoshoot on their website showing a young black boy wearing a green sweater with a slogan on the front “the coolest monkey in the jungle”, which provoked several musicians and artists to condemn the message of the advert and to vow to ditch the brand.
Canadian singer The Weeknd who was recently in the news for his break-up with Selena Gomez, started modelling for the clothing brand in 2017. The Weeknd wasn’t the only one offended. Rapper King Push also joined in saying he would never shop at H&M, “not even for t-shirts”.
Everyone expressed their displeasure about the message in different ways. The rapper Chris Classic was quick enough to photoshop the image of the young boy with a crown over his head and added the message “king of the world”.
“The reason editing the picture of the young King was so easy is because its what I already consider worthy for my own young King and myself,” Chris Classic added in another Instagram post that followed the photoshopped image. The post features an original picture of his son wearing a hoodie with the same crown.
Anthony Stewart, Canadian hockey player, in fact, posted an artwork of the little boy with a crown and a message in front “coolest king in the world”.
While some may believe it’s a coincidence, many say it was done on purpose and they have proof.
H&M has apologised for the “monkey” photo and have removed the image from their website. They have promised to pull the shirt from stores worldwide as well.
“We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” the company said in its statement. “Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally.”
Even though they came across lacking sensitivity, the company has been quick to respond and committed to correcting the situation. But in the meanwhile, it was heartening to see that in times like these, with increasing prejudice and right-wing idealogy, there are enough people staying vigilant and unafraid to point out such an oversight to even a major brand like H&M.
More power to the ones who speak and understand the definition of diversity.