“The coolest monkey in the jungle.” This is what the words on a hoodie marketed towards boys and presumably Black boys, that a little Black boy model wore in an H&M add. This is the type of racial and historical insensitivity that permeates all levels and facets of society when it comes to white supremacy. I believe 2 things: there was no mistake made giving the little Black boy that particular monkey hoodie. The second thing I believe is that the racial climate from the time Barack Obama started to gain traction in his bid to become president to now trying to survive the trump era (Black “shithole” nation descendants I’m riding with you) there has been both a denial of racism and an increase in embolden white supremacists and incidents linking back to them.
The more humans of color and our varied allies, as well as our oppressors, keep denying racism in the last decade the more it’s reared it’s grotesque head. Barack Obama’s election signaled the end to the old regime of racists who toiled in the dark to bring darkness down on Black folks. They couldn’t keep quiet and pretend anymore that they were ‘progressive’ ‘liberal’ or anything other than who they truly are, which is racists plain and simple.
This high profile monkey business bullshit popped up a few times in popular culture: President Obama in a cartoon and LeBron James in a King Kong-esque Vogue photo shoot with a European supermodel. Those two incidents both happened under a Black president starting with an older Black man in Obama and a younger man in LeBron. Now I’m 2018 under trumps presidency if we can even call it that, there in an H&M add lies the unsuspecting youngest victim of global dog whistled mockery, a Black boy with a racially insensitive slogan on his hoodie. I guess before it’s in style it really is in Vogue being that in ‘08 they made LeBron look like an ape in Vogue and now 10 years later that initial monkey business bullshit is back with an unmistakable message on an unmistakably innocent child, a Black child no less.
Sometimes amputation is best. Sometimes we have to cut cancer from the body in order for the body to continue to function properly. When Vogue did that bullshit with LeBron we as a global community should’ve made sure that publication lost its accreditation in fashion and deemed “out of style.” We did not, but we ALL have the blessing of a second chance to show the world we won’t tolerate racism in ANY form or context, PERIOD!!! I suggest not a boycott of H&M, but a complete divestment from supporting H&M and ANY of its affiliates for their brazen cowardice in putting an unsuspecting Black boy in some clothes to be ridiculed and mocked the world over.
I personally plan to NEVER BUY OR WINDOW SHOP IN H&M EVER AGAIN!!! Gone are the days when institutions and companies get to disrespect Black folks and then win us over with an apology. My people have suffered long enough and this time a simple apology won’t suffice. For me, there’s no other choice than the abandonment of H&M because a boycott is a temporary fix and I want PERMANENCY!!!
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