Before you dive into this article, please allow me to preface my intent. I only wish to impress upon you the importance of considering the power of your dollar and honoring that power by being clear of your dollar’s worth when consuming! It is never my position to judge but always to transparently share.
Now, that we’re clear on my intention can we please talk about Gucci’s balaclava jumper that’s been appropriately ID’d as the blackface sweater — a luxury clothing item costing $890.
Racism cost a pretty penny doesn’t it, while apologies are free and ironically rarely leave a lasting change.
If my tone isn’t giving it away yet, let me be very clear. I’m disgusted with this sweater, just as I am with the monkey chain from Prada in 2018 and Moncler’s Malfi jacket in 2016. This isn’t anything new and while the alibis varies, the nasty truth is that year after year we find ourselves briefly “cancelling” out luxury brands for their lack of sense.
Included in Gucci’s statement, released late Wednesday night was an apology suggesting that the brand will use this incident as a “powerful learning moment”.
Black face is as hellish today as it was in the 1830’s (according to the National Museum of African American History, the first performances were by white people in New York). 189 years and we’re still talking about a “powerful learning moment” HOW! How can this be simply a “powerful learning moment” How is this a teaching moment in 2019 to executives who not only sit on boards but dictate the high quality products that we as black consumers continually purchase? It’s the horrific concoction of irresponsibility and privilege at its finest.
How didn’t they know? Because to state that this is a “learning moment” is to suggest that there was ignorance involved… the lack of knowledge. Here we are 189 years later and I’m struggling to believe that anyone would think that black face could slip through the cracks.
I just can’t seem to understand.
It seems as time progresses as a human race we still struggle with being responsible in our actions towards one another. We still struggle with understanding the history of others and how our current decision affects the future generation’s trajectory.
Back in 2018, Prada argued the charms were “imaginary creatures’” that did not intend to have any connection to the “real world” which unfortunately includes an era of heinous atrocities towards blacks —one of many being Black Face.
While I view Gucci’s claim to a “learning moment” as being a blanket PR response, I hope it serves as a final lesson to my fellow young black consumers. The lesson that where we spend our dividends truly matters. Somewhere down the line our pride and daily lives have to align. We have to put our money where our mouths are.
In reference to my opening preface, please know that I understand it will never be my place to tell you where to spend your hand-earned coins, however it will always be my responsibility to speak my peace. In this case, my peace aligns with the truth that pockets speak louder than words, marches, signs and petitions.
Product produces response, each and every time. Ask yo granny, she knows! Rich or Poor, Black, White, Tan, Red and or Blue at the end of the day this is truly a capitalist society and C.R.E.A.M. is the mantra.
Cash Rules Everything Around Me.
So, what do we do with it? How we do keep our focus on the many ways that we fuel blatant racism simply through our spending habits? And most importantly how we do stick to any cancellation?
Again, when will our pride and daily lives align,when will we demand more than a blanket statement,or quick fix? Racism is a matter of the heart meaning there is no quick fix but as consumers we can most certainly turn the tide by changing the temperature in this corporations.
PARENTAL ADVISORY: Video contains explicit language. Clip from Diddy’s instagram.
And excuse me while I interrupt with a side note: but our activism has to be more than just post on social media…. we have to mean what we say… our word is truly our only bond. I must admit it was disheartening to see the amount of people who were once #IMWITHKAP enjoy Super Bowl LIII.
And again, I’m not here to judge but to impress the importance of aligning our pride with our power as consumers. And for my readers that aren’t blacks as allies, and fellow humans, your support is crucial).
With so many heinous political and social issues that we can’t readily control with the blink of an eye (ie: such prison reform, police brutality, equal pay and many more) we absolutely have to hone in on what we can. Efforts such as consuming habits are not to be carelessly viewed.
It so much deeper than the local mom and pop shop that refused to provide standard service, it’s more broader than you complaining about the employees of the beauty supply stores harassing your personal space… these are just starts, yet too often it suffices us as being all-encompassing.
To have personally seen so many of my associates proudly wear Gucci and to compare that sense of pride to the makeshift apology released by the high luxury brand is terribly sickening. It’s heart wrenching to watch us pay high prices for the “drip” just to be told our outrage will be used as a “learning moment”, excuse me, “a powerful learning moment”. The nasty truth is that our sense of value is not reciprocated and our pride, culture and history is not respected.
And if that alone doesn’t behoove you to pull your compensation from them, by all means WALK in your truth, but be clear of the price.
For myself, I do not want to purchase clothing that afflicts pain on my culture, I do not want to accept a “oops, didn’t mean to offend” apology and most importantly I want to demonstrate that my dividends matter. I want to purchase items that I like, from brands that I relate to,or at least respect my people and our dollar at the bare minimum!
Call me deep and overwhelming if you wish, but keep in mind we consume what we do based off of our preferences, which are constructed from our ideals. We buy what logically appeals to us and this simply cannot be soundly justified,
at least for myself and my logic.
So to whom will assess I wish you clarity and for those who will not, I wish you empathy.
P.S. In honor of the official boycott against GUCCI I have made a playlist to sonically support, your activism endeavors. (An additional clean version will be uploaded soon)