This year’s Black History Month has been one for the ages, and we’re not even halfway through the month. Just in the past 11 days, we’ve had the racist shenanigans here in Virginia, the attempts to discredit the African-American presidential candidates, Cindy McCain calling security on a mother and child who weren’t the same race, Joy Behar also having a blackface incident in her past, and on and on. Adding to all of that, the fashion industry has gone buck f–king wild with racist bullsh-t, and it’s all coming to a head this month. Last week, Gucci pulled these sweaters from their stores:
Gucci has apologized and discontinued selling a sweater after criticism that it resembles blackface https://t.co/AU7RVR9Xj6 pic.twitter.com/GBf0rdsNDk
— CNN International (@cnni) February 7, 2019
Do you know how many people had to greenlight that for it to even be mass-produced and already in stores? Dozens, if not hundreds of people at Gucci saw that and shrugged.
And now here’s the latest… Katy Perry has a fashion line which sells in Walmarts and Dillards (I did not know that, but sure). Do I think that Katy actually sits there and designs everything? No, of course not. But it’s her name and her people, and once again, dozens of people were responsible for greenlighting this:
Katy Perry's shoes pulled after 'blackface' backlash https://t.co/iWEOQOf3PF pic.twitter.com/o0oKFZCdSo
— New York Post (@nypost) February 11, 2019
For what it’s worth, the shoes also come in a beige-y flesh tone:
Enough is enough. #Blackfaceshoes #blackface anything is racist. Please rush to get these off the shelves @katyperry pic.twitter.com/tSCQyAzzpk
— Mom'sDaughter (@TraceyNew) February 11, 2019
The beige ones look stupid but they don’t offend me. The black shoes are just… I don’t get it. I’ve often wondered if Katy surrounds herself with Yes Men and I think this is probably our answer. She should have known, or failing that, she should hire people who catch this before stupid blackface shoes go into g–damn production. Now Dillards and Walmart are pulling the shoes – meaning, the stores have a problem with this, not Katy or her people. Ugh.
Photos courtesy of WENN.
amazing what passes for fashion these day.. ugly and insulting.
those shoes are some of the ugliest ones I’ve ever seen. Besides the whole racial issue, they look like a Picasso/Dali mashup/ripoff.
Seriously, someone would buy these shoes??? They’re like a craft piece at a little girl party … here, glue on some eyes and lips, such fun!
Those have got to be the ugliest shoes ever. LOL! Who greenlit these shoes? They aren’t even “fun”. They are just so hysterically awful. Lol!
So I am an ignorant white person, and this is how ignorant I am. I thought when Obama was elected president it meant we were improving. In a straight line. I did NOT in any way think it was the end of racism, so don’t get me wrong, I’m not quite that stupid. But I thought it meant we were evolving? I guess evolving is the right word. That young people were so much more woke, just like naturally or something. Young white people I mean.
And I cannot even describe how depressing it has been seeing all of this revealed. That in fact, we are not evolving. That in fact young white people, for instance millennials, are in no way evolved. I believe I read that only Gen X (my generation) voted for Hillary as a majority (among whites). And even if so, plenty of us still went trump. But white millennials were a shock to me.
I am despondent in many ways. Family who are trumpsters. My positive feelings about this country’s future, gone. My unrelenting depression everytime I see trump tweeted something racist, which happens ALL the time. This is our president, i think to myself. This cannot be. Every day I still go down this rabbit hole. This is ludicrous that this man is president, cant people see that? It is not up for debate to me. It is ludicrous. I think about moving away, but where?
And I am white. So how do POC do it? I don’t know. All I know is my own mental health is on a precipitous decline.
Katy Perry is as fake as they come. She went as hard in the opposite of her gospel reputation as she could to become famous. None of this surprises me from someone like her.
I relate to your post so much. Accepting our reality, and the reality that has been for so many others, has been very painful. We will get through it, like many citizens have survived fascism before, and we will remember where and how we stood during these times. I vote yes to moving! Find a liberal city you like and stay in the city- you’ll find camaraderie at least. Cut off any Trumpsters who reside in your head….look at history and know that they aren’t worth it & your voice has a place. You have a long life and this is just a part of it.
Darla – My situation and feelings are similar to yours. We cannot give up though. We need to fight back by voting, giving money when we can to candidates with our values, and volunteering and supporting causes that can make a difference. And we must raise our children to be citizens of the world.
Well said Darla. My sentiments exactly as a non-POC.
I know, I thought the same thing! So to see all these racist people revealed is just doubly depressing. I guess we’re finding out what POC knew all along.
We *are* evolving. The fact that all this is out in the light of day, instead of so-normal-and-accepted-it’s-not-even-worth-mentioning, is huge. Don’t give up hope. The conversation is what makes the change going forward.
POC have no choice but to just…get through it….
It’s ALL we know….
@Darla, my faith keeps me going. Social media continues to prove what we have been going through for decades.
Darla, it IS depressing to realize that we have not evolved in the way we had hoped. I work within the Jewish community and acts of anti semitism are on the rise. Swastikas, the murder of 11 Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue, etc. It seems unfathomable but it’s reality.
I have had a constant sense of depression since the election. Not just because of the horrible psycho in the White House, but because of how many citizens support him. Because hatred of “the other” is so pervasive in society. Because violence is becoming the norm. Because our planet is dying. Is this what my daughter’s generation will be left to deal with? And her future children’s? They deserve better. Yet there are signs of hope. Citizens are joining together in new ways. #MeToo has exposed the truth about assault and power, and people are fighting back.
You need to take extra care of yourself when you are feeling this way. It’s easy to let this kind of situation turn into depression. We are evolving, it’s just happening WAY TOO SLOWLY.
Millennials are far more liberal than Gen X
Darla, I’m a white Gen X woman and your post hit the nail on the head for me. Despondent…that’s me in a nutshell. I’m married to a black man, we have two daughters. His reaction to all this reminds me of an SNL skit early on after Trump won. All the white people were appalled and shocked and the black people were like, “this isn’t surprising.”
That’s how it is, I’m crying, sick to my stomach…despondent…and he’s like, “yeah, this is America.”
A friend said the day after Trump won: the least shocked person in the USA is a black grandma. #schooled
@Darla, I do yoga everyday and teach fitness and walk and work w kids. Anything to stay positive because this feels like the worse before the better. If we didn’t SEE racism I guess we couldn’t fix or face it. I’m a mixed POC- I was white saviored by a “do good” religious family, but excluded from family reunions. The adoption never went official as they told me “it takes 6 generations to get black out of a family”. I boozed and used for a decade after age 18. If it wasn’t for society evolving- I wouldn’t even have the language to identify what I’ve been through. Some words I never heard because I’ve never been -in- a black culture. I just reveived the racist part, never the identity part. It’s hard for all of us- and this has got to be the worst- I know there is a better! I believe.
these are so fugly
Well if you are going to make the face shoes in multible colors you might not focus on what the black shoes resemble. But it’s really impossible to understand how the sweater got made, didn’t anyone say anything or did someone at the top overrule comments?
Well, are people of color working in top positions at Gucci? I suspect they are not because if they were, that shit NEVER would have left the drawing board.
In answer to your questions (plus a little more info):
“Of course, the news didn’t sit too well with Dapper Dan, the legendary Harlem designer who collaborated with Gucci on a nostalgic capsule collection inspired by Dapper Dan’s archive last July. (This collab only came about after Gucci knocked off Dapper Dan.) Dapper Dan spoke out against the brand on Instagram and announced that Gucci has reached out to him to help right its wrongs by scheduling a meeting with Dan, Gucci board members and more remedy the situation.
‘I am a Black man before I am a brand,’ Dan wrote. ‘Another fashion house has gotten it outrageously wrong. There is no excuse or apology that can erase this kind of insult.'”
Besides being totally offensive, those have to be the UGLIEST shoes I have ever seen ! Who on earth would pay money for that and then actually wear them?
IKR?! They look cheap and hideous, like they cut a Mr. Potatohead in half and stuck the face on their feet.
I agree, they’re so ugly to begin with, and probably incredibly cheaply made if she’s selling them at Walmart.
I can’t believe no one looked at that, and the Gucci sweater, and thought “uh oh”. I know people say this is why diversity is needed among the decision makers, and I fully agree with that, but anyone, regardless of race, should be able to look at that and know it’s wrong.
When I saw the fleshtone shoes I thought “Mr. Potato Head” and then I saw the black ones and I thought “wow, they really wanted Mr. Potato Head shoes in black??”
And the sweater would have been a much cuter idea if the the lipstick print was just underneath the fold of the turtleneck, implying a hot date at lunch and the evidence needed to be hidden. But they went with the silly, obnoxious take and there they are.
In short, these are two examples of people trying to be clever / edgy and so caught up in their creativity that they don’t realize that ideas must be refined for lots of different reasons, not the least of which is historical complexity.
I like her music, it’s fun to workout to but I don’t like her
The shoes are butt ugly as well as offensive. What part of Black History Month confused white people? We don’t want to celebrate black face, minstrel shows, MAGA or any of those things? Please do better!
Not saying this is the case in either of these situations (Gucci at least seems pretty sincere in their contrition, link below)… but these things have been happening with enough frequency that my cynical side has to think that some of these have been marketing ploys. And if that’s true it’s even more offensive because it means making an already targeted minority group feel even less welcome in society just to get in the news cycle for a minute.
“And if that’s true it’s even more offensive because it means making an already targeted minority group feel even less welcome in society just to get in the news cycle for a minute.” Ugh. You’re so right about that. We’re already at a point where people do this at the individual level, so it probably shouldn’t be too shocking if companies start doing it too.
Not a fan of Katy Perry per se, but this a reach that is getting lumped in with all of the other LEGITIMATE items that are in the news. Do my double-chocolate cookies with googly eyes for Halloween now qualify? Come on folks. This is why conservatives troll us incessantly—-because the news and others will run a theme into the most illogical of places where the underlying sentiment is completely non-existent.
No I don’t think the Halloween cookies sound offensive because they are clearly chocolate.. It’s hard to see though how someone didn’t speak up about these designs. Or worse, maybe people did speak up and they got ignored, happens all the time
“Do my double-chocolate cookies with googly eyes for Halloween now qualify? ”
Oh, they qualify – and if not, they’ll qualify any day now.
Enjoy the outrage, people. Good night and good luck.
It’s not on the same level as other things but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve notice. Gaffes like this have the effect of rubbing people’s faces in the fact that society doesn’t see them as equals and doesn’t remember to take their word on what actions are hurtful. It’s not police brutality, but it’s just another little nudge of “you are a niche group, not part of what we think of when we think of mainstream society.”
“getting lumped in with all of the other LEGITIMATE items that are in the news.”
I never really get this point though. There’s no limit on the number of stories the news can cover, them covering this out doesn’t stop anyone from working on and reporting other news items. And given how much racism impacts so many people (and the sheer number of blackface incidents that have become public just the past few weeks!) I think it’s certainly legitimate news.
There are only so many hours in the day. And there are other stories that are getting wider acclaim for legitimate reasons where there is actual blackface to discuss. Lumping in all of this nonsensical BS (where someone’s multi-colored shoe designs could resemble a black face with eyeballs, lip, ears and nose are evoking outrage) with the truly outrageous photos alongside constumed Klanman is cheapening, weakening, and diluting the cause. Swinging at EVERYTHING is going to exhaust the precious energy of those fighting for the cause and turn away those sitting on the fence. Sorry, but this is true. Cry wolf too many times and no one will come to see what you are talking about.
Fugly is a compliment for these “shoes.”
A six-year-old could design better shoes.
I saw them in the store and thought they looked creepy.
Those shoes are ugly AF, but personally I don’t find them to be in the same category as the Prada charms or Gucci jumper. I will give whoever approved this design the benefit of the doubt (I don’t know if that is deserved, but here we are, clinging to hope) but I’ll buy the narrative that because they were approved/produced in multiple colors, they didn’t actually see the product in black.
Having said that, I am by no means the arbiter of what is offensive to other people, and I’m not here to discount anyone else’s feelings on this – so the above is simply my opinion.
As a mixed POC- the shoes and sweater punch me in the gut. An nearly indescribable sickness. I guess not all white feel this- I walked into a party w of course a black face staring at me- costume mocking a famous athlete. I couldn’t move. Most of the white ppl there had zero zero zero reaction. Why is this? They all had no sense of American history I had to ask.
@Today I am sorry that you have had to deal with this shit and that these things have made you feel so awful. FWIW, I’m not white, and also a mixed POC – I found the sweater and those Prada charms violently offensive, the shoes, not so much. Not that that discounts your very valid feelings and views on all, obviously.
These are hideous in any color!!! But I was reading on POC color sites & on social media, many POC said this was a reach. She made these shoes in both black & white. But if it offends people then by all mean remove them. Who would even buy these??? Regardless of color!! Terrible
Thoughtless yes, but if they had been meant to be offensive would not the eyes have been brown?
But as others say, they are ugly.
Oh good one, you detective! CASE CLOSED! What?! Nope. You do not know how black face works, huh? It’s a white person dressed up as a black person with exaggerated features so the blue eyes do ‘work’ here. They didn’t have colored lenses back in the day for all those racists to really get their part right. And “mean to be offensive” and “offensive” are not far off, but thanks for the attempted pass to kick it down to just thoughtless.
Thanks for your very helpful and polite explanation, which I will bear in mind at all times in the future.
Good grief, MC2. That is so rude. Why do people respond this way around here? It’s totally unnecessary.
Yes, that was such a rude response. I’m not from the US and I was confused, because I didn’t know why the shoes would be considered black-face and not just shoes of a black person’s face. But I scrolled back up and saw that the eyes are blue and the facial features are more like typical caucasian features, so I’m guessing that is why.
The levels off people this stupidity had to go through, my God.
stick to the singing.
As a former retail buyer who worked in private brand development for our store…you usually do see a sample in each color(especially if only doing 2 colors), or you would at the least have to ok an image of each color). I think what makes this bad is they only did black and beige. I wonder if they did a couple other colors as well, if it would look less like “we did the 2 main skin colors!” And more like” look at this creepy face on this bright pink shoe! Oh and it comes in black and nude like every shoe”. Again, not sure if it would still have had the racist effect that it does as is. I don’t know. I am also not a POC so I cannot say how anyone would feel about this shoe other then myself. I do know, any iteration of this shoe is UGLY. The sandals are hideous in any color/shade.
There are so many important Black figures who never get mentioned in American history and now we’re spending all of Black History Month talking about blackface.
Better people to learn more about than Gucci designers and Katy Perry include:
1. Dr. James McCune Smith (b. 1813) the first African American to hold a medical degree. He trained in Scotland (University of Glasgow) before returning to New York.
2. Willa Brown (b. 1906), the first woman in the US to have both a pilot’s license and a mechanic’s license, and co-founder of the first flight school owned by African Americans. Also, the first African American woman to run for Congress! She was born in Glasgow…Kentucky.
Thanks for saying this, and you’re right— it is unfortunate that so many interesting and great people’s legacies are totally ignored when they should be celebrated. I appreciated reading about the people you mentioned.
Thank you for reading about them, Tracy!
I know some aren’t offended by the shoes but this is one of those times where it really feels like the blows keep coming.
I’m wondering what year would I need to have been born so that people see me as a human being and not a caricature or costume. 2030? 2050? 3000???
The reason why folks are SO UP IN ARMS regarding racist tropes…is because there is a WHOLE HUGE ASS IGNORANT RACIST RUNNING THIS COUNTRY INTO THE GROUND AND MAKING IT HELLISH FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR!!! I mean…the JUDGES alone that has been installed over the last couples of years…HUNDREDS OF THEM…that will work for the REST OF MY LIFE to ensure that I have NO RIGHTS AT ALL…IT IS STAGGERING!!!!
So for folks who think that people are being too outraged regarding EVERYTHING? There is a REASON for that…I know I am surrounded by racists people in positions of power…and I also know that the ONLY reason those folks don’t use that power infrastructure against me unjustly…is because there were PERCEIVED safeguards out there to protect me…that protection is GONE…and I’ve ACTUALLY had dreams about ICE knocking at my door…and those dreams aren’t FAR FETCHED from a reality that is JUST around the corner….so yea…people are going after EVERY LITTLE THING…because that crap should have been addressed and handled DECADES AGO…
And people are weary…
Why do you feel like it’s plausible that ICE would show up at your door for being a POC? I do think that’s far-fetched. It’s sad that you and I’m sure others feel scared – and I don’t doubt that it’s a genuine fear during this tumultuous time – but the idea of ICE coming to the homes of hundreds of millions of POC in the US is unrealistic. The logistics alone would make that completely impossible. Even with the racists currently in office, none of them will be able to strip you or anyone else of your civil liberties. I hope you can see that and it gives you some sense of peace.
“ Even with the racists currently in office, none of them will be able to strip you or anyone else of your civil liberties.”
That’s what the Jews in Germany said before the Nazis stripped them of their rights and citizenship, stole all their belongings and hauled them off to concentration camps and murdered them en masse during the Holocaust.
“Why do you feel like it’s plausible that ICE would show up at your door for being a POC? I do think that’s far-fetched. ”
I’d like to point you in the direction of the 27 year old marine who was held for deportation despite BEING A US CITIZEN. Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was born in Michigan. He earned a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and a combat action ribbon and suffers from PTSD because of his years of service.
So, no. If you have a US born freaking marine veteran being detained by ICE, I don’t think it’s far-fetched that some ‘regular’ citizen could very well feel worried.
Why do you think it’s unrealistic? We’ve literally seen it happen before in history. You don’t think thousands of German citizens sat around thinking to themselves that their government would never really go around rounding every Jew, Romani, homosexual, and disabled person for mass slaughter? You really think Japanese Americans expected to be thrown into detention centers because a country to whom they no longer had any personal connection happened to bomb Hawaii? The kind of people wearing “deport them all” buttons are not the differentiating sort. You would do well to read up on how ethnic genocides begin because it is never as simple or obvious as picking up the gun and firing a bullet from the start.
Women are being stripped of their legal rights to abortion, contraception across several states. ICE is “reviewing” cases to reconsider deportation for legal citizens. States are passing voter suppression laws left and right. Others are limiting freedom of speech and assembly. The executive branch openly considered declaring a false national emergency to build a wall unsupported by the majority of the populace. Never assume your rights are guaranteed. America had to fight a war to get their democracy, and even then, they built it on the backs of enslaved Africans and Native blood. The powerful never give up power willingly.
@ Other Renee – I get what you’re saying, and I think BECAUSE the Holocaust happened, something remotely like that could feasibly not ever be repeated. As a society, the world recognizes it was beyond horrific. The idea that something even close to that happening in 2019 United States is so unrealistic, IMO.
When Obama was in office, all the nut right wingers were convinced that he was going to take away guns and declare martial law. The rhetoric was insane. And equally, the notion of hundreds of millions POC being stripped from their homes.. it’s asinine to believe that could be a reality. For many reasons, it would never happen. The main thing I fear as a woman, is birth control being taken away, but even that’s a stretch. No way would that pass at the end of the day. We can’t let our fears convince us of irrationality, because that gives more power to those at the top. Don’t convince a bully they are capable of taking something from you, because then they will think they are. We have to stand strong now more than ever.
I was just reading the other day about a Marine veteran who is Latino that was arrested. He was then handed over to ICE. He kept telling them he was a citizen, he was a veteran, etc. They didn’t believe him and held him for an incredible amount of time against his will.
No, it is not far-fetched.
@Winnie…how LOVELY for you…that YOU can think that what I stated is unrealistic…I was NOT BORN with that gene… and furthermore…have not EXPERIENCED the safeties that you take for granted…. I don’t have to look at the HOLOCAUST to find situations where people were LEGALLY stripped of their rights and I don’t have to go WAY BACK in history for that fact either….I don’t lean on fear…I see what’s happening and I’m not about to discount facts…for NOBODY!
We had a little incident in our office. Our marketing team but out photos of black women dressed as Wakanda warriors. They posted them around the office. The content was ignorant and basically alluded to the only perfect black woman is a fictional character that does not exist on top of culture appropriation. Many of my black friends were upset over it. When I reported it to the Marketing VP that is was offensive. She immediately took action and had them all taken down. The Marketing manager lame excuse was it was reviewed on many levels and no one protested it. LET ME BE CLEAR . All those levels were white men. Of course they all approved it they all think the same.
A lot of the problem is there is no diversity as it goes up the check ladder. When all people have the same thought how can there be any honest discussions and clarity.