Last Tuesday, clothing label, Forever 21, posted a picture that sparked lots of criticisms on Twitter and other social media. We all know it was probably with good intent but the question is, how could they feature a white model wearing a “wakanda” themed sweater?
The backlash was so intense resulting in the fashion label taking down the post as well as other pictures used in advertising the product featuring the white model. The tweet was taken down on Tuesday night.
Hey @Forever21, In What Universe Did You Think It Was Ok To Feature A White Model In Wakanda Gear? Granted, Chances Are You Knew It Wasn’t Ok, But Still. As A Former #21Men Brand Specialist For The Company, I’m Highly Offended.
— Mark-Paul (@WhoIsMarkPaul) December 18, 2018
Criticisms majorly came from black folk around the world who believed it was out of place to advertise such a product using a white model. Obviously the product was inspired by words symbolic to the fictional African country created by Marvel in the high grossing “Black Panther.” Inscribed on the front of the knit sweater is “Wakanda Forever” the famous Black Panther salute.
— Jesuorobo’s Thoughts (@Jesuorobo) December 18, 2018
White people being into Black Panther is… good for everybody? https://t.co/p6cjy2tHQQ
— Chris Blair (@chrisbz) December 19, 2018
Forever 21 went on to issue an official apology to customers and every other person offended by the gesture. The company said they are concerned with not just their products by the feelings of their customers. Though they have a reputation of using models of different ethnicities to celebrate superheroes it was important they listened to their customer feedback on this one.
— KimberlyDewayn (@KimDSummons) December 18, 2018
Currently the picture of the sweater on the label’s website is without a model and the initial picture is now unsearchable.