Gucci Creative Director Responds To ‘Blackface’ Design

NEW YORK (AP) — Gucci’s creative director broke his silence Tuesday over an $ 890 sweater that resembled blackface, saying racism was never his intention.

Alessandro Michele, a design force at the Italian fashion house, lamented in a letter to employees both his own pain and “that of the people who saw in one of my creative projects an intolerable insult.”

The black sweater with a pull-up neck featured a cutout surrounded by cartoonish red lips. Michele wrote that it was not inspired by blackface but by the late Leigh Bowery, a performance artist, club promoter and fashion designer who often used flamboyant face makeup and costumes.

Regardless, Michelle said, he takes “full accountability” for the sweater, which was pulled last week amid widespread criticism.

Gucci has apologized, saying in a previous statement posted on Twitter that it was committed to diversity and considered it a “fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make.”

The balaclava-style sweater that covered the nose above the cutout was ridiculed on social media as insensitive and racist. It emerged as attention in the U.S. was focused on old photos showing politicians with their faces blackened.

Other fashion brands have made similar missteps.

In December, Prada said it was no longer selling a line of accessories that featured a character with brown skin and exaggerated red lips after complaints they resembled blackface.

Michele’s internal letter was reported by the site Fashionista.com and Women’s Wear Daily.

Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s president and CEO, told WWD, “The lack of knowledge of diversity and the consequent understanding are not at the level we expected, despite all the efforts we did inside the company in the last four years.”

The company is now “evaluating all the processes” to ensure “the right level of awareness and visibility,” he said.

PHOTO: AP


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From Gucci’s Blackface Sweater to Beyoncé Sambo Coat: 5 More Times Fashion Met Racism

Fashion is art; and art, of course, can be controversial. But when does edgy fashion become overt racism? Fashion house Gucci ignited a firestorm recently by selling a black balaclava sweater that many say bears the racist emblem of the black Sambo caricature. And Prada recently faced backlash after selling monkey-faced keychains that many saw as a mocking blackface design.

Anger over blackface and racial mocking have become even more intense of late with revelations that several Virginia politicians have dressed in blackface in their pasts. Here are other missteps by brands or celebrities when a fashion statement went awry.

5 More Times When Fashion Met Racism 

H&M’s “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” Ad

H&M

In Jan 2018, H&M releases an ad featuring a black child modeling a green hooded sweatshirt emblazoned with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.” Social media users vowed to stop shopping at the retail giant while others blasted marketing executives for approving the image despite the ugly history of using “monkey” as an ethnic slur against black people. The retailer issued an apology and removed the ad from its website

Moschino Racially Profiles Black Customers

gucci blackface

A former employee at a Moschino boutique in West Hollywood, California, filed a lawsuit against the Italian luxury clothing company for racial discrimination. According to the employee, a store supervisor would call black clientele “Serena” and ordered employees to follow and watch them closely if they weren’t wearing diamonds or name brand clothing.

Moncler Jacket’s Penguin Face – Racist? 

Gucci blackface

(Pinterest)

Outerwear apparel-maker Moncler was scrutinized for a design on one of its coats that led many to liken it to a Sambo image. The company defended itself by saying the image was actually the face of its penguin character.

HIGH-FASHION BRAND UNAPOLOGETICALLY APPROPRIATES #BLACKLIVESMATTER

Gucci blackface

 

Port 1961, a high-fashion brand based in Canada, found itself in a public relations predicament when black models walking down the runway sporting sweaters that read, “Every Color Matters” and “Only Love Matters,” in one of the brand’s fashion shows.

Beyoncé Gets Side Eye for “Sambo Coat”

Gucci blackface

(Twitter)

During All-Star Weekend in 2015, Beyoncé was spotted donning a Scooter LaForge trench coat, evoking some raised eyebrows. The coat, which retails for $ 320, features a custom-painted depiction of a smiling clown that some are describing as the often controversial, black-face character Sambo.

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—Editor’s Note: Selena Hill contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

 

 

The post From Gucci’s Blackface Sweater to Beyoncé Sambo Coat: 5 More Times Fashion Met Racism appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Internal Memo from Gucci CEO Shows He’s Taking the Blackface Scandal Very, Very Seriously

On Sunday, just days after Gucci issued an official apology for its sweater that resembled blackface (and simultaneously pulled it from shelves), the Italian house’s preeminent creative collaborator Dapper Dan released a statement of his own. “I am a Black man before I am a brand,” he wrote in …

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Virginians are split on governor’s fate amid blackface scandal, poll shows

African Americans and Democrats say by wide margins that Gov. Ralph Northam should remain in office.
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Spike Lee Boycotts Gucci, Prada Over Blackface

MILAN (AP) — Director Spike Lee says he will no longer wear Gucci or Prada until the brands hire some black designers, following a pair of blackface fashion fails.

Lee said on Instagram Friday that “It’s Obvious To Da Peoples That They Don’t Have A Clue When It Comes To Racist, Blackface Hateful Imagery. WAKE UP.”

Spike said the brands needed to have black designers “To Be In Da Room When It Happen.”

The personal boycott in the midst of movie awards season was a powerful message to luxury fashion houses that are already suffering backlashes for designs evoking racist images.

Gucci this week apologized for a high-neck black wool sweater that featured bright red lips when pulled over the face, while Prada apologized for a monkey bag charm resembling blackface in December.

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Joy Behar Under Fire After Photo of Her in Blackface Resurfaces

NEW YORK — Joy Behar and ABC were silent Thursday after an old photo resurfaced of “The View” co-host using makeup to darken her skin for a Halloween costume, the latest flashpoint in a series of blackface scandals making national headlines.

The 76-year-old didn’t mention the clip on Thursday’s show, one day after an editor for the entertainment website The Wrap tweeted the three-year-old segment of Behar discussing a resurgence of curly hair.

During the 2016 segment, Behar displayed a 1970s-era photo of herself at a Halloween party when she was 29. She says that the hair was her own and that she had dressed as a “beautiful African woman.”

Co-host Raven-Symone asked whether she had on tanning lotion. Behar, an outspoken liberal, said she wore makeup “that was a little bit darker than my skin.”

Messages seeking comment were not returned from Behar’s agent and the ABC program.

Critics were quick to point out that NBC cut ties with host Megyn Kelly last year after she created a furor by suggesting that it was OK for white people to wear blackface on Halloween.

This week, Virginia’s governor and attorney general are being criticizedfor their use of blackface. Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned last month after a photo surfaced showing him wearing blackface and dressing as a “Hurricane Katrina victim.”

Other white celebrities who have been called out for using blackface include Julianne Hough, who in 2012 dressed as characters from Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black,” and “Real Housewives of New York” star LuAnn De Lesseps, who dressed as Diana Ross for Halloween in 2017.


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Gucci Issues Apology in Wake of Blackface Accusations

MILAN – Facing accusations that a balaclava-style sweater available on its online shop and physical stores evoked blackface, Gucci issued a statement on Thursday through its Twitter account.
“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make,” the statement read.
The black knit top is a turtleneck style covering the bottom half of the face with a cutout and giant red lips around the mouth. The item is no longer available on the brand’s online shop and the company said it was removed it from brick-and-mortar stores, as well.
“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond,” the company remarked.

Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
— gucci (@gucci) February 7, 2019

Social media users, especially on Twitter, expressed a wave of disapproval.
“Balaclava knit top by Gucci. Happy Black History Month y’all,” wrote Rashida, pointing to the annual observance in the U.S. and Canada celebrating

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Blackface, Rape Allegations: What the Hell Comes Next in Virginia?

Steve Helber/AP/REX/Shutterstock

It was a Wednesday in Richmond. The Ralph Northam story had quieted down and the Justin Fairfax saga was hanging fire. It was crazy, sure, but nothing too crazy that we weren’t all going back to talking about Donald Trump. And then, boom: the state’s attorney general, Mark Herring, admitted to wearing “brown makeup” to dress like Kurtis Blow back when he was in college.

This seemed to cap a mind-blowing series of events that have unfolded in the commonwealth since last Friday. A quick review:

First, as we know, Governor Ralph Northam was outed as wearing blackface (or a KKK robe) in 1984. At the time everybody said hey, no problem, let’s just make him resign, and we’ll have an actual African American as governor, and someone everyone likes and who took a strong stand against Confederate statuary to boot.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Calls for Virginia governor to resign amid blackface scandal

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Virginia governor apologizes for ‘racist and offensive’ costume in photo showing people in blackface, KKK garb

A medical school yearbook page of Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam shows a photograph of two people, one in blackface and one in a KKK hood and robe.


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Not Surprised: Covington Catholic School Kids Wore Blackface At Sporting Events

Blackface Policemen

Source: Hulton Deutsch / Getty

In the days since the identity of the MAGA hat-wearing teens mocking and mugging Native American activist and elder Nathan Phillips was revealed, there has been a lot of tapdancing and goalpost-shifting going on. Video of the Covington Catholic High School students rocking Blackface makeup at a basketball game and yelling at a rival Black player has surfaced, but the students claim it’s just plain old school pride.

Crooks and Liars reports:

Fox and Friends’ Steve Doocy made believe the students from Covington Catholic HS were the real victims during his morning interview with two students since a video went viral and after doing everything he could to exonerate their behavior, Doocy asked about the time the students wore blackface at a basketball game.

Doocy was perplexed as to why reporters would look through prior videos of the school’s events to determine what their past behavior. Doocy wanted to get to the bottom of one incident, a racist one.

“There was a pep rally where one of the members of the school body appeared to have blackface on. People even asked you to explain that,” Doocy said.

“How do you explain that?” he asked.

Sam Schroder replied, “I’d just explain it as showing our school spirit.”

Say, what? Acting like racists shows school spirit? Any adult at their school would know using blackface hasn’t been accepted since Al Jolson’s days and they would understand that too.

Right.

The kids went on to explain that the school had several themes of school spirit, which in our view must also include a racially insensitive practice and then allowing the boys to wear said Blackface makeup at a game where, you guessed it, Black players are being yelled at.

The spin that conservative pundits are taking with this matter is outright disgusting. Folks would have more respect for all of this if the kids and their parents owned up to the fact that they might all just be a little racist inside.

Photo: Getty

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From Melania’s Jacket to Prada Blackface: The Biggest Fashion Controversies of 2018

Photo illustration by The Daily Beast

Any fashion news can be controversial if you write long and passionately about it on Twitter.

That said, 2018 proved to be full of scandals, snafus, and setbacks in the industry. From Marchesa to Melania, the style world saw its fair share of moments that induced many “What?”-s and “Huh?”-s or made us wonder who could have possibly approved that?!??!

Let’s take a look down a not-so-nostalgic road.

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City investigating Prada over ‘racist’ blackface merchandise

The city has launched a probe into Prada over a Soho store display that featured a line of accessories blasted as racist. The NYC Commission on Human Rights is looking into reports that a Prada employee was retaliated against for complaining about the display of “Pradamalia” keychains and other trinkets — that included a character…
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Prada Pulls Its $550 ‘Blackface’ Keychain Amid Backlash

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

Luxury Italian fashion house Prada shut down a New York City storefront and pulled a keychain from its stock after the accessory went viral for resembling blackface imagery.

The complaint was first made on Twitter and Facebook by Chinyere Ezie, a civil-rights attorney and activist who works at the Center for Constitutional Rights. Ezie saw the keychain while walking past the line’s SoHo store in downtown Manhattan.

“Thanks to #blackface @Prada, now you can take #sambo home with you for the holidays #StopRacism #StopBlackface #StopPrada,” Ezie wrote on Twitter, referencing a disparaging term for black men.

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Criticized for Charms That Evoke Blackface, Prada Says It ‘Abhors Racist Imagery’

Facing online accusations that animal-like figurines and charms in its stores and windows evoke blackface, Prada Group issued a statement saying it “abhors racist imagery” and vowed to withdraw them from “display and circulation.”
In a Facebook post, Chinyere Ezie, a civil rights lawyer, said the sight of the figurines in the Italian brand’s store in New York’s SoHo district had her “shaking with anger,” describing “racist and denigrating #blackface imagery” and “Sambo like imagery.”

Ezie noted she had just returned from a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, taking in an exhibit on blackface.
“History cannot continue to repeat itself. Black America deserves better. And we demand better,” she wrote in her post, which got picked up by other blogs. “Shame on you Prada.”

In a statement to WWD, Prada said the figures are “fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre” and known as Pradamalia.
“They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation,” it

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NBC’s 9 a.m. ratings up since canceling ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ after her ‘blackface’ comments

Ratings for the Peacock network are flying high in the aftermath of Megyn Kelly’s show getting canceled.

NBC has experienced an uptick in viewership during its 9 a.m. weekday timeslot since “Megyn Kelly Today” was taken off the air following the host’s controversial comments defending wearing blackface…

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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Megyn Kelly says she’s been badgered by paparazzi after ‘blackface’ scandal

Megyn Kelly says she’s been hounded by paparazzi in the aftermath of her controversial blackface comments that led to her NBC morning show being canceled.

“For a week paparazzi has been lurking outside my home day & nite,” Kelly began in a series of tweets Wednesday. “Finally today I took my kids…

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NBC Accused Of Hypocrisy After Videos Surface Of Jimmy Fallon In ‘Blackface’ And Lester Holt In ‘Whiteface’

On Friday, NBC announced that Megyn Kelly’s morning talk show had been canceled and the move comes — as the New York Times put it — “for wondering aloud on-air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up (on Halloween) in blackface.”

Kelly was fired from her show following the public uproar over her comments.

As Sandra Rose wrote: “NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt covered the story and discussed Kelly’s blackface comments but he didn’t mention whiteface — and for good reason.”

 

Here’s how SandraRose breaks it down:

Mediate blog found a photo of Holt dressed up as British chanteuse Susan Boyle, who is Caucasian. Holt, who is mixed race, wears whiteface makeup, a wig and a dress for Halloween.

“Then there is Jimmy Fallon, whose running skits as former Utah Jazz NBA star Karl Malone and comedian Chris Tucker, both of whom are Black, drew big laughs. Fallon, who is white, didn’t just wear blackface makeup, He also spoke “with a defined speech impediment” to suggest that Malone was less than intelligent.”

“Mediate called out NBC for its hypocrisy in firing Kelly for just talking about blackface Halloween costumes — while two of the network’s biggest personalities actually dressed up as someone of a different race.”

Even Hoda Kotb once dressed in Whiteface for Halloween.

Meanwhile, NBC issued a statement saying that in the wake of the cancellation of  “Megyn Kelly Today,” the 9 a.m. hour would be hosted by other “Today” co-anchors.

Kelly’s exit deal is still being negotiated, with reports that she’s asking for $ 50 million of her purported $ 69 million contract.

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NBC cancels ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ as host discusses exit with network following controversial blackface comments

Megyn Kelly ruffled too many feathers at the peacock network.

Kelly’s show has officially been canceled amid negotiations with NBC about the host possibly leaving the network.

“Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” a rep for NBC News said in a statement Friday. “Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be…

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Megyn Kelly apologizes for blackface remarks

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CHARITY UPDATE:

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