The “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” ad featuring an adorable young black boy has certainly made its way into your feed this week. While it’s not surprising that racism has a casual place in advertising, it is surprising that people don’t understand the deep-rooted emotional racism attached to calling black people “monkeys.” It is not overreacting to take it upon ourselves to correct the ad by using words related to royalty to refer to the young model.
Black kids deserve to see images that reflect positivity. Racism is a tough pill that every person of color has had to swallow every day, and images that reinforce the labeling of black people as less than human should be rejected. #BlackLivesMatter is a rallying cry to reiterate that we are human and deserve for our lives to be regarded as such. We’re only asking for humanity. This is also what we’re asking for from brands like H&M that create imagery (subtle or not) that declares otherwise.
This week’s Judge of Characters is not only about H&M’s racist slipup, but a short history of big brands using racism to create controversy, aka publicity. Check out the video above.