By Njera Perkins
When will these major corporations learn not to pull these kinds of stunts?
H&M shocked the masses today when an image of a little black boy wearing a hoodie bearing the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle” surfaced on the internet. The image has since been removed from their website, but that didn’t make the message any less hurtful.
Consumers and celebrities immediately criticized the company for their actions and lack of thought into what the image of the young black child communicated to the public. The phrase itself referenced a monkey, an animal that has a long history of being used as a racial slur for African-Americans. The image was racist and the fact that they used that phrase on a piece of clothing for an African-American child was highly offensive. People have been up in arms about this issue all day.
In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If look at other sweaters in same category they have white kids. We have to do better. pic.twitter.com/Av4bS4t6yn
— alex medina (@mrmedina) January 8, 2018
People were very offended that it even made it to the online store and many publicly denounced the company as a whole. Canadian singer, The Weeknd was one of many who took to Twitter to express his disappointment in H&M and announced that he would no longer work with the clothing company.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
After seeing all the backlash that H&M and even the young boy’s parents received for the image, an artist by the name of Chris Classic took the image and changed it into something positive for the boy to see.
I made this because I dont wanna see this young Kings face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M. I'm almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but… this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesnt erase… so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him. #mysavoirfaire
More celebrities like Diddy, Nipsey Hussle, Waka Flocka Flame, and Dave East reposted the images as a way to show their support for the child.
A spokeswoman for the clothing company said “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.” If this is what H&M considers a public apology. then it seems very disingenuous.
What do you guys think of this? Were they dead wrong? Was it some sort of mistake?