G-Easy is following The Weeknd and ending his partnership with Swedish clothing manufacturer H&M after an ad featuring a black boy wearing a shirt that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” came out.
He put out a message on social media, sharing that he had been very excited about the global partnership but is now appalled that in today’s age a shirt with that phrasing could get through so many layers of people without anyone pausing to consider what it said.
“Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it’s truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable.
I can’t allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen.”
Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with @HM… Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I've decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it's truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable. I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to get on track and become racially and culturally aware, as well as more diverse at every level.
The line was supposed to launch March 1.
H&M has issued another apology, saying they got this wrong and accept all the criticism they are getting.
“Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion,” they wrote. “But we clearly haven’t come far enough … We agree with all the criticism that this has generated – we have got this wrong and we agree that, even if unintentional, passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists. We appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offense but, as a global brand, we have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities – and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.”