Black History backlash


Library of Congress

This reproduction of a 1900 William H. West minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co., contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes. Today, these caricatures are now generally considered offensive and disrespectful.

Jibreel Hoskins, Staff Reporter

Just days into Black History month, businesses such as Gucci and Adidas have already received backlash.

Gucci, a clothing line, is known for its expensive and fashionable designs. They release shoes, sweaters, and jackets, among other things.

Keeping up with the brutal winter season, the company released a wool, black, Balaclava knit top that came up to the nose and mouth. The mouth was left open, leaving a ring of what Gucci chose to be red to add color to their top.

Seconds after the release, Twitter users immediately let the company know how they felt about the new product. Thousands of people recognized that the sweater resembled blackface. Blackface was a makeup scheme that was used by non-blacks to play the roll of a black character.

Gucci released an apology later that day, saying they “are fully committed to increasing diversity” in the organization.

Since then, Gucci has changed their approach to make sure they include a much more diverse employee team, that is multicultural. This way, they can ensure they are not being offensive towards any race.

Adidas, similar to Gucci, sells jackets, shoes, shirts, and other clothing items.

They, too, received criticism after releasing an all white, CBC Ultra Boost shoe. The CBC stands for “Celebrating Black Culture”. According to USA Today, the shoe was part of their Harlem Renaissance program.  

Many people expressed their frustration towards the company, due to the fact that the company released the white shoe during Black History Month. As a result, Adidas pulled their product off the market as well.

The company felt their shoe “did not reflect the spirit or philosophy” of how they recognize Black History Month.

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