Well... a few of the community’s beloved brands have once again attempted to pull the cotton over our eyes. No matter what, as a whole the black community is forgiving and dedicated, but to whom and at what cost?
Gucci and Adidas were called out on pieces apart of a Black History Month collection. That backlash has resulted in the removal of these products from stores and websites. Gucci’s wool “Balaclava” sweater was apart of their 2018 fall/winter collection. Priced at $890, the all black turtleneck extends past the nose and features a cut out around the mouth with an exaggerated red lip design. The design has an obvious blackface resemblance! In celebration of Black History Month; Adidas chose to “celebrate” our culture by creating an all white all cotton Ultraboost running shoe, apart of their “Uncaged” line. Claims of inspiration by the Harlem Renaissance were their justification behind the $180 design. An all white all cotton shoe, why? What inspired the material and color combination? And who decided it was appropriate?
Often times then not, white people deem themselves the ultimate assessor in all things appropriate. It wasn’t long ago that we were in an uproar when H&M featured “the coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie. Prada released $750 monkey charms that replicate an image of a Sambo caricature. First and foremost, this article is not to educate you on the references in which these products resemble and blatantly exploit for monetary gain, but to shine light on a reoccurring issue. Why do black people continue to support people, places and things that don’t reciprocate the same energy?
When you look around and see the advancements that the world has made, yet the shortfalls are apparent as we continue to run this never-ending race. One may ask, “How does this still happen in 2019?” Inclusion and diversity are at the forefront of the black experience and or lack there of. When it comes to products and the placement of said products there is almost always a panel, team, or department involved. In fact, from start to finish that product has been viewed, examined, and for lack of a better word “criticized” before we as consumer have access.
When you have all white brands that employ predominantly all white workers, do you expect them to have an idea of what may or may not be sensitive or insensitive to cultures they typically don’t include- by choice? Yet they force their inclusion and appropriate the culture as they see fit. The question of whether or not a black person had access to those designs are unknown. Yet the significance of multi cultural voices are crucial in the workplace and in life in general. Have I purchased an item from this brand? Yes. Will I ever again? No. The importance of the black dollar is something ALL companies rely on. We are the leading consumers for many industries, but this is how they typically treat us. Better yet, this is how we allow them to treat us.
Allowing someone to continue to hurt you is not only self-inflicting but it contradicts any rhetoric of love for self. With hopes that we learn to choose us first, think twice when you decide to spend your hard earned money. It’s extremely hard to break habits, yet we put forth effort into things we truly want. It is very possible for many to not think this is, “that deep” and they are entitled to feel those feelings. But what about you... do you care enough? To be an example of change for your family. Which would hopefully and eventually poor out into your friends and their families... creating generations of like-minded individuals.
Imagine what your city could do if we all decided to buy black and take back what was ours. What would an all
black [insert city] look like? What would it fee like? Is it even that serious?
About The Author
Shanni began writing poetry at an early age. Born in Newark, yet raised in East Orange, New Jersey she started expressing herself through creative writing. Those creations, nationally acclaimed, initiated a validation that has moved her to write pieces driven by emotion. A now songwriter, Shanni credits her podcast experiences for initiating an interest in journalism and media.
While her passion may be songwriting, she has always felt an obligation to keep others informed. Topics may vary, but her stance remains consistent. Knowing is imperative for growth. Oftentimes, Shanni’s writing are honest yet useful. Whether it’s a musical review, local and national covering, or a shorty story her goal is to invoke thought. Thoughts that lead to conversations and eventually initiate a needed change.
Follow her on IG @d_overweightloveher