Prada removes all "blackface" products after being accused of racism
17 December 2018, 13:44 | Updated: 17 December 2018, 14:43
Prada has apologised after being accused of using blackface imagery on products in their new collection.
Last week, Chinyere Ezie spotted offensive items in a Prada shop window in Soho, New York, that resembled racist depictions of black people. The figurines – which were sold on keychains, earrings and necklace charms as part of the "Pradamalia" collection – had dark skin and large red lips, which are common characteristics of historical blackface imagery. However, the brand claimed they were just "imaginary creatures".
Chinyere went viral after sharing photos of the Italian fashion house's window display, writing her disgust for the brand. She wrote on Facebook: "I don't make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger.
"Today after returning to NYC after a very emotional visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture including an exhibit on blackface, I walked past Prada's Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating blackface imagery.
I don’t make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger. Today after returning to NYC after a very...Posted by Chinyere Ezie on Thursday, 13 December 2018
"I entered the store with a coworker, only to be assaulted with more and more bewildering examples of their Sambo like imagery. When I asked a Prada employee whether they knew they had plastered blackface imagery throughout their store, in a moment of surprising candour I was told that *a black employee had previously complained about blackface at Prada, but he didn’t work there anymore.*
"History cannot continue to repeat itself. Black America deserves better. And we demand better. Until then please repost and retweet @Prada using the hashtags #StopBlackface#BoycottPrada #EndRacismNow."
The "Black Sambo" – a caricature of a black boy – design infuriated people, who even vowed never to shop with Prada again.
In 2018 Prada decides it’s a good idea to use blackface to sell its products. The marketing dept. needs to learn something from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia. https://t.co/UyPMIxlsH3 https://t.co/tgxmMWVnjg— Natalie J. Ring (@HistoryCounts) December 14, 2018
Hey @Prada these photos were brought to my attention as images of blackface are on display in your Soho store in NYC. Have you all lost your minds? Are you all that ignorant of the blatant racist display in your store right now?! See examples side by side! #boycottprada pic.twitter.com/IedslVZRbm— Calandra Hackney (@landybugnyc) December 14, 2018
Fuck Prada. I'm so tired. They pulled the display/items this morning and gave a weak "we didn't mean to offend anybody" excuse, but who on this planet in the year of our lord two thousand and eighteen looks at this and doesn't immediately say "omg this is Blackface." https://t.co/GwtMKugbdq— Skeeter Valentine was Black (@RafiDAngelo) December 14, 2018
Wow. @Prada seems to think this is some kind of “mysterious” new invention. Hate to break it to you guys, this ain’t the future. It’s the past. The very recent, racist past and it’s all too present now, clearly #blackface #sambo #slavery still in vogue, apparently pic.twitter.com/qT6LlWVdaY— Afua Hirsch (@afuahirsch) December 14, 2018
Since the backlash, Prada has issued an apology and pulled the products.
We are committed to creating products that celebrate the diverse fashion and beauty of cultures around the world. We’ve removed all Pradamalia products that were offensive from the market and are taking immediate steps to learn from this.— PRADA (@Prada) December 16, 2018
Full press release attached. pic.twitter.com/rKhnKjasDz
This comes after Dolce and Gabbana was accused of racism for featuring an Asian model attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks in a recent ad campaign. Last month, the Italian fashion house had their Shanghai fashion show cancelled after Stefano Gabbana's account was "hacked" and offensive racist messages were sent to Instagram users.