Updated, January 11, 2018: The mother of the young black child who modeled the H&M, “coolest monkey in the jungle” sweatshirt speaks out and apparently, she’s not bothered by the the sweatshirt. Terry Mango, who is Nigerian but lives in Stockholm, Sweden doesn’t think it was a big deal. Mango made a series of posts to her Facebook page, urging everyone to “stop crying wolf” and to “get over it.”
“[I] am the mum, and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modeled. Stop crying wolf all the time, [it’s] an unnecessary issue here. Get over it.. That’s my son, [I’ve] been to all photoshoots and this was not an exception. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this… I really don’t understand but not [because I’m] choosing not to, but because it’s not my way of thinking. Sorry.”
The mother of the young boy wearing the “monkey” sweater has come forward to respond to everyone defending her son, she says stfu and stop being so damn sensitive ? At this point, I’m now over it ??♀️??♀️ But in her defense, by the way she says “she’s his mum” tells me they are from another country, maybe she doesn’t completely understand our racial stereotypes in America….???? #TeaTENDERS
Mango’s response comes after many people slammed H&M for using a black child to model a sweatshirt that reads “coolest monkey in the jungle.” The outrage behind the ad forced H&M to issue an apology and remove the image of the child wearing the hoodie.
Original Article, Jan. 8, 2018: H&M apologizes for a racially insensitive ad featuring a young black boy modeling a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie.
The Sweden-based clothing company received backlash from people on social media after posting the picture of the child on the British version of the H&M site wearing the “printed hooded top” for £7.99 ($10.84 USD). The green hoodie has the text “coolest monkey in the jungle” on the front and the model is a young black child.
Although the sweatshirt alone does not have a racist message on the front, it was the idea of using a young black child to model the sweatshirt that caused many to become angry. People were quick to call out H&M for the insensitive and racist undertones of the photo and also point out that the other white model featured in the same line was wearing a sweatshirt that reads “survival expert.” Another white model wore a sweatshirt with just animals on it.
In the year 2018 there’s no way brands/art directors can be this negligent and lack awareness. If look at other sweaters in same category they have white kids. We have to do better. pic.twitter.com/Av4bS4t6yn
— alex medina (@mrmedina) January 8, 2018
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 8, 2018
— Marqus ??? (@marqEmarq) January 8, 2018
I’m sure the apologies are a coming. And the ads will be pulled. I’m certain there will Be media… https://t.co/NuTJTkGg1q
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) January 8, 2018
Some people have gone as far to call for a boycott of the popular clothing retailer.
BOYCOTT @hm! Whose with me? @hmusa What universe do you live in that makes it okay to flaunt your racist ways in such an epic portion. I demand you remove this ad! This child is precious and should be treated as such! #boycottH&M #racists #coolestmonkeyinthejungle #notonmywatch pic.twitter.com/eY4f7nKxvi
— Alexandra Foucard (@AFoucard) January 8, 2018
At least one celebrity has come forward to share their thoughts about the racist ad. R&B star The Weeknd took to Twitter Monday to say he’s “embarrassed” by the photo and will no longer work with H&M.
The Weeknd responds to H&M racist hoodie ad
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
H&M issues an apology
The Sweden-based clothing retailer issued an apology on Monday about the insensitive image.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” a spokesperson from H&M said in a statement. “The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”
The company is still selling the hooded sweatshirt on their website, but they removed the image of the black child wearing it.
As the image of the young black child wearing the “coolest monkey in the jungle” sweatshirt spread online, it prompted some artists decided to alter the photo to promote a more positive image.
I made this because I dont wanna see this young Kings face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M. I’m almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but… this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesnt erase… so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him. #mysavoirfaire
Fixed this H&M ad I saw earlier today pic.twitter.com/ItX0zzfhlw
— Mimicgawd (@Mimicgawd) January 8, 2018
This isn’t the first time a major brand has received criticism for racist advertising. In October, Dove was forced to apologize after making a social media post of a short video loop showing a black woman removing her dark brown t-shirt and transforming into a white woman.
In the same month, people took to Twitter to call out cereal brand Kellogg for a questionable ad on the back of one of their cereal boxes. The illustration featured scores of enthusiastic yellow Corn Pop characters but featured one darker-skinned character. The brown-colored Corn Pop character was wearing what appeared to be a janitor’s uniform and was operating a floor buffing machine.