The Swedish retailer came under fire for its children’s line catalogue that shows a young black boy wearing a green sweatshirt with the slogan ‘Coolest monkey in the jungle’.
An H&M store. Picture: AFP
JOHANNESBURG – Media specialist Tebogo Ditshego says H&M’s latest portrayal of a black child works against the clothing company’s efforts to reach out to black consumers.
The Swedish retailer came under fire for its children’s line catalogue that shows a young black boy wearing a green sweatshirt with the slogan “Coolest monkey in the jungle”.
Ditshego says there’s an obvious lack of transformation within the company ranks.
“In South Africa, there’s been a lot of celebrities that are ambassadors trying to appeal to the African market. But then they go ahead and go against their own trajectory of their brand to insult black people in this way. They are not transformed from the board of directors, down to the decision-makers.”
While H&M has since withdrawn the ad, reaction to it has continued on social media, with Canadian musician The Weeknd earlier saying he would no longer work with the retailer as its brand ambassador.
woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore… pic.twitter.com/P3023iYzAb
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
The singer, real name Abel Tesfaye, expressed how “deeply offended” he was and has now cut ties with the retailer.
The singer began his association with H&M in 2017, modelling in ad campaigns and collaborating on pieces for his XO brand.
He has since has dropped his association with fashion retailer.
H&M has apologised and removed the offending ad from its website.
The store’s spokesperson Anna Eriksson says that the company apologises to anyone who may have been offended.
The apology has not been accepted as more celebrities have continued to express outrage.
US basketball superstar, LeBron James, blasted the retailer on his Instagram saying, “@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up!”