Prada Pulls Down Offensive 'Blackface' Keychains that Evoke Racist Imagery After Severe Backlash
Many on social media claimed that taking the $550 keychains off shelves did not solve the problem of racist imagery still being used by several companies and creators across the world.
It all started last week after a lawyer Chinyere Ezie, who works with the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights, posted a photo of some of these alleged 'blackface' trinkets including monkey-toy charms and keychains, in a storefront window in Soho.
In the post, Ezie wrote that she was 'shaking with anger' at the 'Sambo like imagery' of the Prada store.
"...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," Ezie wrote.
She added that when she entered the store to confront the storekeepers, some of the staff allegedly said, "A black employee had previously complained about blackface at Prada, but he didn’t work there anymore,".
The post was shared over 11,000 times and has caused massive outrage with many agreeing that the new trinkets did, in fact, evoke racist imagery. The toys in question, Otto and Toto, are part of the new Pradamalia collection. These monkey like toys and charms are sold with elaborate origin stories and are described by Pradas as "fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre". But social media wasn't having it and immediately called the collection out.
Look at the Prada dolls next to an antique blackface doll. You still don’t understand? pic.twitter.com/2xbbyx7f23— Tea Cakes (@teafourtwo3) December 14, 2018
So Prada “studied its DNA” to come up with the Pradamalia line and what it apparently found in its chromosomes was...blackface caricature? https://t.co/QI6x8SZIPb— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) December 14, 2018
Prada has pulled these deeply racist dolls now. The fact that the company “looked into its DNA” and found slavery era imagery there is apparently meant to make it seem less offensive. 2018 is ending as it began, with me wondering if it’s still 1718 https://t.co/2lFEDLRPdj— Afua Hirsch (@afuahirsch) December 15, 2018
After the backlash, Prada issued an official apology:
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
However, the controversy fails to die down. Many on social media claimed that taking the $550 keychains off shelves did not solve the problem of racist imagery still being used by several companies and creators across the world.
45 minutes after this “apology” you posted an advert for the #Pradamalia collection. You’re still profiting off the imagery. Pull it all. Hire black women. Donate to equitable causes. You messed up, big time.— Anita Smithson (@anitalynns) December 14, 2018
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