Welp! Number 9 is already a goner. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, please read my previous post entitled 10 things I don't want to see/hear in 2018. Only 8 days in, and we have already had our first culturally insensitive ad of 2018.
I remember my first time visiting an H&M. It was 2007 in Paris, France. I believe it was 3 stories tall, the music was loud, and I bought an orange tank top that had the words Fifteeen, Fourteen, and One Hundred written in German (I'm not sure why this stuck out to me). I LOVED H&M because the clothes were "early" as far as fashion, and inexpensive. Honestly, I was sad when they opened stores in the US. I felt like my best kept secret had been exposed and made accessible to everyone.
Fast forward 11 years.
This is such a hansom young man. Beautiful skin, wide nose, furrowed brow, full lips, and probably has no understanding of racism, or what it means to be called a monkey. I'm sure his mother is proud to see her handsome son modeling clothing for one of the worlds trendiest brands, and she should be. But not wearing this! I don't know her, or where she is from, or how old she is, so I won't speak on how she should have known her son probably should have been modeling one of the other sweatshirts.
H&M is a Sweedish brand and this young man appeared on the British online store. Excuse? No. I say to H&M if you were conscious enough to use a black child (as you often do) it is time for you to add a Director of Diversity and Inclusion to your company, and not just one. You need one for every major country where your brand has an online store. You need to hire consultants for every country where your brand is represented. This does not only apply to H&M, this applies to EVERY MAJOR BRAND! Gone are the days when companies can make racist or culturally insensitive statements and they go unnoticed or ignored because people are too afraid to speak up about it. Black people specifically, have reached a place in our growth where we will no longer tolerate anything that even looks like prejudice or racism. In 2015 Nielsen reported that due to the rise of the income in black households, and the tremendous social media influence black people afford, "it’s a key time for companies to build and sustain deeper, more meaningful connections with black consumers, according to the findings." In other words, if you want your company to survive you MUST consider black people. Now, these are results from 2015 when the country was under different administration, so we can't overlook the possibility of a decrease in black affluence in the coming years. However, there is still Black Twitter. You don't want to get dragged.
It is time for companies to make some drastic changes, and QUICKLY. H&M, thank you for your apology, and retraction of the photo. However, it is not fair to the young man to no longer have is face represented on the website, and it's not fair for his parents to have to explain to him why. To those of you who keep saying black people need to "let it go", or "your parents are teaching you that racism still exists"... it's not black people continuing to spread the narrative of racism, it's you. You are continuing to give each generation of black people a new reason to keep on fighting.
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