Really? If you have no idea what I am talking about, one of my fave retailers H&M seems to have no one with common sense in their marketing, styling, and e-commerce departments.
The thing is, I had a totally different post planned for today, highlighting the best places to shop for children and guess who was on the top of my list? I was even going to shoot a look of the boys in a new look from the brand. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, many of my looks for the family come from H&M, and this was so disappointing to see.
There were so many questions that came to my mind when I was first showed the picture. Number one, were his parents on set? Did they approve of their magical black boy wearing this? One thing I won’t do is shame another parent or question their decisions until I hear that side of the story. It’s so hard to raise black boys nowadays, I can only imagine what they are going through right now.
I say it is hard to raise black boys because many people in the world treat them as a threat, and they aren’t allowed to be children. The things that Billy is allowed to do and get away with because he is a “kid”, comes down as a harsh punishment many times for Jamel. We have so much to balance when it comes to the emotional well-being of our children, add on top the internet where things like this can live forever. How will this young man react when he sees this as part of his story when he is old enough to understand?
My next issue lies with all the people who work for H&M and signed off on this. There wasn’t ONE person who could’ve said, you know what, something doesn’t seem right about this? NOT ONE. Is there no diversity in the corporate headquarters for this retail giant? Reading some of the comments on social media, many parents are sharing their feelings on never dressing their kids in the cutesy monkey clothing that is so often marketed for children.
I found this “monkey snap-suit” on Carter’s website, and I can remember the boys having a couple onesies similar to this when they were younger. Is this offensive as well? I don’t know, I wasn’t as woke back then as I am now, but I do know how I felt when I read and saw the H&M hoodie. And that will make me think twice about spending my money with them going forward.
While sometimes me saying I won’t shop at a particular place again, may seem insignificant, remember if nothing else, money talks. So if we accept their mediocre apology, we will shop there again. When we band together and show a brand that our money matters, it will affect them. Maybe they will start to diversify their employment, or reach out to social media influencers to style campaigns and have more involvement with their branded content. I’m just saying, it’s 2018 for crying out loud. Brands have to do better than this.
I hope you understand the power of your voice. We can use it to inspire and uplift our community. I will have a conversation with the boys this evening about the topic, and explain to them the meaning of such language. Then I will pour into them all the love they deserve, and let them know how amazing they are. I am a firm believer that it all starts from home, we have to equip them with enough confidence and self-love that when we send them into this cruel, cruel world, they will be hard to be broken down.
Racism still alive, they just be concealing it!—-Kanye West
Speaking of jungle, I am in the midst of helping to plan a jungle/safari themed baby shower for my brother and his fiance. But the welcome to the jungle I was referencing was my family because we are a wild and crazy bunch. I wonder if this too plays into the offensive narrative of black children and monkeys? When things like this happen, my husband is the first to say, start your own. So I’m sure there is a designer somewhere as we speak, making hoodies with positive affirmations for our beautiful children!
What are your thoughts on all of this? Will you continue to shop at H&M? Please share all your thoughts below, I would love to have an open, educated discussion on this topic below. Thank you for reading and stay chic and woke.
( I have featured a few of my fave stores and looks from the boys over the years because obviously there are other wonderful places to shop for children.)