Black Outrage is the New Key to Success


Photo Attribution/Flickr Commons/Matt Kieffer

Gucci is launching a diversity and inclusion plan following the blackface scandal.

Beatriz, Opinon Editor

Flooding our Instagram timelines with ads, sending 40 percent-off discount codes to our emails daily and aligning with celebrities to sell products isn’t enough for clothing companies today.

Nowadays, the route that clothing brands such as Gucci, or celebrities like Kim Kardashian take to promote their brands seems to be degrading, deliberately offensive and disheartening.

Over the past week Gucci has received backlash – well deserved backlash – over their release of what’s being called, “blackface sweater.” The neck of the black sweater could be lifted up to the eyes so that it looked like a balaclava and had a hole for the mouth with red lips; features similar to that of the Minstrel Show blackface.

Gucci has since released an apology from their Twitter account.  

“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the brand said in a tweet. “We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores.”

Now, my question is, was that apology really enough? After what Prada went through with their controversial monkey keychains resembling black face, shouldn’t these brands know better? With  the racist history this country has, shouldn’t companies such as Gucci and Prada make better and sound decisions? They should and in their eyes, I’m sure they feel like they do.

Gucci knew exactly what it was doing when it decided to sell that sweater, and even if they didn’t, I refuse to believe that somebody in their camp didn’t think the sweater looked questionable throughout the process.

As soon as the sweater hit the brand’s website and screenshots of the sweater found their way onto Twitter, Gucci got the result it wanted: People talking about the brand, being story of the week — even if it was bad press — because it seems like for them, all press is good press.

It’s degrading to see companies like Gucci and Prada provoke Black people with their actions just for the sake of hearing their name in the news.

It’s deliberately offensive because they know that my community refuses to be quiet when it comes to our race being disrespected and abused, and we’re obviously going to protest and make a statement whenever that’s the case.

It’s disheartening because out of all marketing schemes and out of all advertising plans that could possibly exist, this is the route that they choose to take every time. This won’t be the last time a company does something so ridiculously reckless and throws a weak apology at us to soothe the pain.

However, I hope that this is the last time we give them the response they so desperately crave. At this point it has become so obvious when celebrities and brands provoke outrage for success.

As much as it is demeaning to be poked and prodded at like that, I hope we, as Black people, learn to ignore these cheap shots at “success” and value our self-respect above all.