Prada removes all "blackface" products after being accused of racism

17 December 2018, 13:44 | Updated: 17 December 2018, 14:43

Pradamalia figurine/Shocked guy meme
Prada has removed their offensive products. Picture: Prada/Pinterest
Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe

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.

Since the backlash, Prada has issued an apology and pulled the products.

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.