IN today’s social and political climate it blows my mind how top brands/designers such a Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Moncler, etc. have the nerve to try to profit off of Blackface.
Blackface became popular in the 1830s, as marginalized whites felt rejected by their affluent counterparts they turned to minstrel shows. During the shows white actors would imitate/mimic enslaved Africans. These performances stereotyped blacks as lazy, ignorant, hyper-sexual, and criminal. One of the most well-known minstrel characters to date is Jim Crow played by Thomas Dartmouth Rice and is the origin name for Jim Crow laws.
Clearly, there is a lack of cultural and ethnic diversity within these brands, letting us know these products are not meant for us. So why do we continue to support them? From where I’m standing the only reason we insist on purchasing these brands is for clout, giving the perception that black people can be bought. How can we prosper if something as little as clothing and clout can deter us.
Which brings us to “cancel culture”. CAN WE PLEASE STOP CANCELING PEOPLE AND FLEX THE POWER OF THE BLACK DOLLAR! I have a baby heart attack every time I see a “cancel Kanye” post, but YOU WALK AROUND WITH YEEZYS ON. In the words of Kendrick Lamar, “miss me with that bullshit *clap clap.” Instead, we should pull our support from these brands, whether it be through money, music, or outrage (because black outrage is the new marketing strategy). This includes the umbrella corporations that own them. For example, Kering (ironically enough, pronounced caring) owns Gucci, as well as Sant Laurent (YSL), Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and more, so lets stop buying/supporting ALL of them Let’s start by throwing our support behind black designers such as Pyer Moss, Tolu Coker, Cushnie, etc., and exercise our purchasing power where it matters; only then will we see change.
Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments & check out more black designers found here!