In an attempt to amend a pretty awful misstep in the ongoing fight for fair and humanizing representations of diversity, H&M announced early today that it was appointed a new diversity chair. Yay.
This of course follows the release by the Swedish retailer of an unfortunate promotional image featuring a five-year-old black male model dressed in a hoodie with "the coolest monkey in the jungle" printed on it. The much-deserved backlash was a large public outcry, ranging from store-defacing protests at H&M stores in South Africa to The Weeknd dropping his endorsement deals with them. Diddy reportedly offered the child model a $1 million modeling contract. But Questlove nailed it when he wrote on Instagram about the company's ill-advised -- and frankly, plain racist-- stunt, saying, "All this tells me about H&M is that the seats in the boardroom lack something… wanna take a guess???"
H&M has since recalled the item from its inventory, issuing an apology and a promise to do better, and in hiring company veteran Annie Wu as their new global leader for diversity and inclusiveness, here's hoping they'll make good on that promise.
The retailer said on Facebook that it's "commitment to addressing diversity and inclusiveness is genuine, therefore we have appointed a global leader, in this area, to drive our work forward."
Going forward?! Sorry: How long has H&M been in business? We are on the side of those who believe it never should've happened -- representing diversity appropriately just means being part of the 21st century, and here is yet another case of capital-f Fashion being disappointingly slow to catch up.
Meanwhile the five-year-old model in question, Liam Mango, has since reportedly moved from Stockholm with his family, for security reasons, but that's another matter entirely. Or is it?