The Weekend has ended his partnership with H&M after a racially-insensitive advertisement featuring a young black model wearing a ‘Coolest Monkey In The Jungle’ went viral. While the black child sported the hoodie with an offensive phrase, the white child sported a hoodie with the empowering phrase “Survival Expert”, making matters that much worse. The international superstar, who announced his partnership with the clothing line back in 2017, took to Twitter to make the announcement. “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo,” he tweeted. “I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore.” Since then, H&M took down the advertisement and released an apology.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” H&M tweeted hours after going viral. “We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.” Whether the compay’s intent was to offend or if it was a careless mistake, the damage has already been done. I believe this mistake was made due to the misrepresentation of all cultures within the company. It was suggested by the official living memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. that, “every company should invest in training that encompasses cultural competency and sensitivity. It is absolutely necessary.” The Weeknd isn’t the only celebrity that responded to the controversy. Since then a slew of celebrities shared their offense. “Never shopped with you ever…not even for Tshirts” Pusha T tweeted. “The way I c it,” Snoop Dogg captioned a re-edited and enlightened photo of the model on Instagram. What do you think? Check out the celebrity responses and sound off in the comments below!
I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled. I’m certain there will Be media fixers and whatnot and maybe a grand gesture like a donation to some charity (donations under these circumstances are the corporate version #SomeOfMyBestFriendsAre move if there ever was one) all this tells me about @HM is that the seats in the boardroom lack something…wanna take a guess?
Updated [January 9, 2018 6:00PM]: The Weeknd isn’t the only one ending his partnership with H&M. “No Limit” rapper G-Eazy also announced that he will too end his collaboration with the clothing brand after the offensive ad. “Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with HM,” he captioned a picture posted to Instagram. “I can’t allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen,” he continued on the lengthy caption. G Eazy’s H&M collaboration, G-Eazy x H&M, was due for release this March.
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.