Renowned retail clothing brand H&M put out a statement recently to apologize for an image from one of their kids wear photoshoots. In the image we see a Black/African child wearing a green hoodie with writing on it that says, “Coolest MONKEY in The Jungle”.
The “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” image from H&M has gone viral for all the wrong reasons and received a lot of negative press on social media, more so from the Black/African community. But on the real what can we expect from a brand that decided not to choose black models during their fashion show in South Africa and justified it by saying “they wanted the brand to keep a positive image” or a brand where the board of directors of HM or its executive have no black director.
Shortly after the image went viral ‘The Weeknd’ who is an ambassador for H&M and can be seen on many of their campaigns took to his social media to speak of his disappointment and went on to say that he will no longer be working with the brand. ‘G-Easy’ also put out a similar statement.
Some are saying it could have been a marketing strategy to amplify more brand awareness because we all know that there’s no such thing as publicity if used right. And this could be right because the mother of the child from the photograph went on Facebook and openly said she doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about and doesn’t see any problem with the photo.
The real question is can companies like H&M promote such image without facing repercussions where does it end?
Will you still be shopping at H&M after such a stunt or should angry black consumers put their money where their mouths are and show support to black owned clothing brands?
The problem with referring monkeys to African comes from the slavery and racism days. Where black people globally where referred and compared to monkeys. Those days could comeback if companies like H&M can promote such image and the African community or the world allows it to happen without any consequence.
Below is what our own celebrities in south Africa had to say and the celebrities around the world .
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
We are absolutely appalled by this racist advertisement attributed to @HM which strips the child in the green of basic human dignity. While we note the apology as necessary we cannot accept that it’s sufficient based on the amount of damage it has caused. cc @HMsouthafrica pic.twitter.com/TqSRn164xJ
— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) January 9, 2018
Put some respect on it!! When you look at us make sure you see royalty and super natural God sent glory!! Anything else is disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/QVaxgngwh1
— Diddy (@Diddy) January 8, 2018
We used to be slaves and now we are billionaires in the countries we were sold in. We did this with no help from the oppressor. Black people start at the bottom of the food chain and work their way up. Plus we do it with so much swag. WE ARE THE KINGS OF THE WORLD AND WE ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! #BlackExcellence #BlackIsKing #BlackIsBeautiful
Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with @HM… Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I've decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it's truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable. I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to get on track and become racially and culturally aware, as well as more diverse at every level.
@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that's what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople🤴🏾👸🏾👨🏾⚖️👩🏾⚖️