Gucci Apologizes for Blackface Controversy
Gucci has removed a sweater from their stores as well as it’s website after social media users pointed out its resemblance to blackface.
The black sweater had a roll-up collar covering the lower half of the face with an oversized red lip outline and was retailed at $890. Once the sweater made it’s a way to Twitter many users expressed a various range of emotions, including disappointment and anger some of which can be seen below. Following the outrage, the luxury company posted an apology on Wednesday saying it “deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.”
So @gucci puts out a sweater that looks like blackface……
On Black History Month….
And then issues an apology because they didn’t know that blackface images are racist.
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) February 7, 2019
We have ONE month to celebrate the history of African Americans. Feb. 2019: Multiple accounts of politicians wearing blackface. And now news Gucci was selling a $890 blackface sweater. We are a nation desperately in need of diversity training. #gucci #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/tHXEAP2pjN
— Michelle Singletary (@SingletaryM) February 7, 2019
Damn it, Gucci!!!
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) February 7, 2019
Gucci is not the only brand that has been accused of racial insensitivity lately. Prada issued an apology December 2018 for their key and toys called “Pradamalia”, that also resembled blackface. Virginia’s Attorney General, Mike Herring issued a statement admitting to dressing in blackface in college. Sarah Silverman also issued a statement saying she was horrified by past work where she dressed in blackface saying that she doesn’t “stand by the sketch,” but “Comedy by nature is not at all evergreen, if you’re doing it right, you look back at your old stuff and you’re horrified.”
While some may not see the issue with blackface it is extremely offensive and traces back to the nineteenth century. In the mid to late nineteenth century actors in minstrel shows would use black grease paint on their faces to depict black slaves and free black men and women on stage. According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the act was used to depict African American’s as lazy, ignorant, cowardly, or hypersexual which are negative and harmful stereotypes of African Americans. At this point in our society, we should be at a point where we see the importance of being conscious of the topics that may offend others as well as inclusiveness for everyone.