Online fashion company H&M known to provide high quality clothes at an affordable price is under fire for a catalog photo of a young black boy wearing a sweatshirt carrying the slogan, “coolest monkey in the jungle”. They have since apologized for heir misstep but it brought up some conversations online.
A spokeswoman for the retailer said: “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended.”
In my household we call my youngest “chunky monkey”, as a term of endearment because as a baby he was so cute and chunky. However, I am aware that there are people who use the term “monkey” as a slur. I have mainly heard it use in a way between black people that connotes ugliness.
So to H&M, how many more times are we going to have to deal with people apologizing for things they should already know. Even if it is meant to be s term of endearment, which in this case it is not. It has no place in the catalog of such a fashion magnate and well known brand. It begs the question of who was in the room when this decision was being made. I will hate to believe that if there was one black person in that room, they would have given the green light to such a thing.
The problem highlighted here is the inclusion of minorities as a way to broaden marketing campaigns with the end goal of increased profits. However behind the scenes, there is insufficient representation in positions of power. In other words some companies want our coins but not our talents or input. So shame on H&M for not having a single person in their spaces who saw a problem with this image.