Over the weekend H&M faced a flurry of backlash for posing a black boy model in a sweatshirt with the words “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” on the front. What took me aback is that this is blatantly racist and no one, NO ONE from the H&M team didn't stop and think, "hey this will come off as racist," no one? It baffles me that its 2018, and we are still dealing with issues such as racism and unequal pay for women.
As a mother of a young black boy instances such as this just play into my fears of the world in which we currently live in and how we as African Americans are viewed. This is so disheartening because since my son was a tiny baby (he's now 2.5) I have been an avid customer of H&M because of the organic cotton options they offered in funky prints and styles and their price point wasn't bad.
The hoodie, available at the store’s United Kingdom page as a “printed hooded top,” was noticed Sunday by social media users who shared their outrage widely, which is how I saw it. Specifically via Charles Blow's tweet:
H&M, based in Sweden, had not commented publicly as of yet and the image of the boy has been taken off of the website and replaced with a generic photo of the green apparel. Two other hoodies offered alongside the sweatshirt featured white models, including one labeled a jungle “survival expert.”
It's unfortunate that these are conversations that we still must have and that instances such as this continue to happen. It's a wrap for my patronage at H&M, this is disgusting.