Kiki noun. Definition: An assembly or meeting, especially one held for the specific purpose of gossiping or chit-chat. "Let's have a kiki!"

Coolest Monkey In The Jungle… according to H&M

Coolest Monkey In The Jungle… according to H&M

There are two types of people in this world. Those who can’t believe a huge brand such as H&M would place a boy of colour in this sweater and those who have no idea what the issue is.

Firstly, before you get on your high privileged white shiny horse, yes, racism exists and yes POC are still being referred to as Monkeys. Coolest Monkey In The Jungle would not be a compliment in many, many parts of this world. Whether it’s not apparent in your kumbaya-tight-knit-circle, it still happens.

Now I’m not going to sit here and blame H&M entirely for this almighty f**k up. Where was the mother I hear? Did they edit the statement on afterwards? I’m not here for that. The problem is, brands such as H&M don’t seem to have the right types of people high up behind the scenes. Remember those two types of people that I mentioned in my intro? Yep, them. It seems like they only have one type of person okaying these campaigns.

We’ve seen lots of commercials and advertisements being more inclusive or diverse if you must use that word. Here in the UK, we saw a Muslim animated character in a 2017 Christmas ad and an all black family two Christmases back. Half the country lost their shit. Babes, it really is that deep over here. People seem to think that POC don’t represent Christmas… news flash haters, Jesus was not blonde with blue eyes. Google Jerusalem.

 

Coolest Monkey In The Jungle
Coolest Monkey In The Jungle

I cannot believe that in 2018 I’ve already discussed the fact that blacking up in any form is offensive, we are 8 days into this new year. I cannot believe, in fact, scratch that, I can believe that a Brand such as H&M promotes diversity through advertising (and floor staff), but behind the scenes there doesn’t seem to be many (sensible) black folk.

All these companies need to employ some kind of race relations type who is media trained, particularly in Black Twitter so they can say yay, or nay. Better yet, GTFOOH that is insensitive BS and is a really, really bad idea, guys. It wouldn’t be hard to find someone, perhaps that lady who wrote that pocket guide? Dear white people, would ya like to know how to talk to non-whites in the workplace.

You know what, Google is your friend, you could actually google this. “Would a POC be offended by referring to them as a monkey”. Computer says yes.

“Coolest Monkey in The Jungle is a no, no guys. Stop the shoot, swap the sweaters over. The blonde kid is now wearing the sweater, crisis diverted and over”.

I can understand if you’ve never encountered racism, or if you don’t really understand how or why it happens. You sweet angelic people have been sheltered from the dark uneducated few. That’s fine. You haven’t been called the “N” word whilst minding your own damn business. You’ve never had to ask your mum what “coon” means after a pretty rough day at school. I get it. You probably don’t even have (real) black friends. But and I use that word strongly, but, you could educate yourself by perhaps listening.

Coolest Monkey in the Jungle… not ok, even if that one black guy you know who goes out with your friends, sisters cousins says it’s ok, it’s not.

Don’t brush these things off by saying that people are too sensitive. It’s not your place to tell us or even me that I shouldn’t find Gollywogs offensive because they were your cute lil’ bedtime companion that you hold so dearly as a childhood memory.

MIL, I love you, but I really didn’t need to name my Black cat ‘Blackie’, I will side-eye anyone who calls my kid a ‘cheeky little monkey’ and for those so-called friends that blacked up as Stevie Wonder and Gloria Gains at that party… go f*** yourself.

Coolest Monkey in the Jungle, please call your mum and tell her that I apologise for the swearing.

Oh, and brands, get some damn black folks high up in your company so you don’t make this mistake again, thus forcing me to shop elsewhere.

11/01/17 EDIT: After thinking about it, reading comments and responding to people that don’t understand, I’ve decided not to shop at H&M. It’s a shame because I have always loved their clothing and as an ex-employee, I’m really disappointed in their past actions regarding race. (H&M Apologizes For Implying White Models Convey A More ‘Positive Image’).
I’ve always been an advocate for small businesses, so let me put my money where it’s appreciated.

*The bigwigs from H&M have actually apologised for the faux pas, I had to add that because come on, I am fair.

 

If you would like to feature as a guest blogger on the Kiki Blah-Blah site, get in touch Hello@kikiblahblah.com 🦄

Sareta Fontaine is the founder of Kiki Blah-Blah; a modern lifestyle blog aimed initially at mum’s but has since grown. Since 2016, Sareta has worked on the platform, both designing and creating a space for other bloggers to share their thoughts and feelings, while also sharing hers.

14 Comments

  1. Zara

    Ffs.
    WAKE
    UP
    WORLD
    👏🏻😡

    Reply
    • Sareta

      I hope one day that it will. Hopefully, by the time our kids reach adulthood!

      Reply
  2. Tamu

    KIKIIIIIII!

    I see no lies or alternative facts in this here post. It’s BIG BIG 2018, do better.

    Reply
    • Sareta

      Thank you, and yes, this world is so behind. #DoBetter indeed

      Reply
  3. greg

    I’m sure mom didnt care what here child was wearing when she took the check to the bank if it would have been my child I would have Sao hell no he isn’t wearing that

    Reply
    • Sareta

      I think a lot of people would agree with you Greg, it’s unfortunate. There would have been so many opportunities for this to have not occurred.

      Reply
  4. Bella

    People were saying “this must be a publicity stunt from H&M” because it beggars belief that in 2018 they clearly didn’t have anyone on their team who piped up and said “Erm, the ‘monkey’ aspect of this doesn’t sit right”. So what’s the set up at H&M – an all white team of people who OK this kind of thing with no awareness of their consumers (or common sense for that matter) or a team that includes POC who are just Yes Men who don’t speak up against these things? Either way – something ain’t right.

    It’s lazy, it’s thoughtless, and there’s too much “stop being so sensitive, it’s just a t shirt” from people who can’t or won’t understand that this is the thin end of the wedge. Not even that thin actually. But for too long ‘society’ (and by that I basically mean white people) have had the luxury of being lazy and thoughtless and apponting themselves as the arbiters of what’s deemed acceptable/oversensitive/racist/not racist/an overreaction etc

    I’m white, so I don’t fully ‘get’ it. But like you said, not having lived it isn’t an excuse. But in the same way that I’ve lived sexism I know that it’s a lazy diversion tactic to switch the conversation about reactions to decisions rather than the decision itself. And I think the H&M decision sucked.

    Reply
    • Sareta

      All of this. If you can empathise, if you have one ounce of that of emotion, you can understand.

      Reply
  5. John

    I propose National Make Sure Someone With A Brain Is Running Your Company Day

    Reply
    • Sareta

      This. And that entire team has represented the Brand so terribly. I wonder if anyone was reprimanded?

      Reply
  6. mia

    So if a White child would buy and Wear the hoodie,it would be ok or still a “no no”? Very cool, that so many cant help thinking of a monkey when they see a Black child. I dont.

    Reply
    • Sareta

      Mia, I love the fact that you don’t see the connection. But unfortunately when black people in this day and age are still being called “monkey” in the street when black footballers are getting banana skins thrown at them then trust me when I say that Monkey isn’t a term of endearment. If a white child wore it, lucky for them, it wouldn’t have caused such an outrage. Perhaps, instead of focusing on the emotions caused by racism, speak out against the perpetrators. Then we could all live in harmony without fear of causing offence.

      Reply
  7. Cazza

    This is the best come back ever…
    Crude but true and straight to the dam point!
    You need to share this internationally- we all need this wake up call dam it 😏

    Reply
    • Sareta

      Cazza, apologies for the language, but I’ve grown tired of the systematic ignorance. You can explain to people why things are offensive, back up with facts including both historical and current and people still get annoyed with speaking up about racism, rather than the cause.

      When can we rest?

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *