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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Prada Taps J.K. Simmons for Video Project

MILAN — Prada tapped Academy Award-winning actor J.K. Simmons to play the key role in its newest video project, named “The Delivery Man.”
Celebrating the fashion house’s Cahier handbag, the series includes three distinct yet interconnected chapters, subbed “Midnight Request,” “Woman’s Best Friend” and “Priorities of Love.”
Directed by filmmaker Ryan Hope, every short episode shows Simmons’ character valiantly facing obstacles to deliver the Prada Cahier bag — seen in three different color combinations — to a female recipient. These are embodied by actresses Pom Klementieff, Sasha Lane and Bahia Gold, respectively.
Debuted on Prada’s social media accounts and web site on Thursday, the first, high-paced episode “Midnight Request” is set in a nightclub, where Klementieff shares a short anecdote wrapped in a Prada fall dress with neon embellishments before receiving her blue and black Cahier handbag.

Available on Oct. 13 and 15, the other two chapters will be set in a Hollywood Hills mansion overly protected by a guard dog and in the delivery man’s own home, where a final, unexpected plot twist — according to Prada — will take place.

Sasha Lane will star in the second episode of Prada’s “The Delivery Man” series. 
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