UNITED STATES—I wanted to marinate a bit on this issue before bringing it to the public forum because it’s much bigger than a designer name. I’m referring to the issue involving Gucci, and that sweater which many considered to be racist as it resembled blackface. Yes, I’ve seen the sweater and how it slipped the cracks, I have no clue. However, it raises a much larger issue about the importance of global diversity. Yes, diversity matters, but not just in North America, it should matter across the seas, in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America.
What many of us deemed abhorrent or racist in North America is not always seen with the same disdain in other parts of the world. Perhaps having minorities in the executive offices of Gucci, someone could have brought attention to the fact that that sweater had some major issues with it. This is not to give Gucci a pass on the situation because that would not be holding the company accountable for its actions. This leads me to the issue that has me concerned the most.
In the wake of the blackface sweater, several celebrities have come out noting they are boycotting the brand for 3 months. Stop, let’s rewind things a bit. Why are you boycotting the brand for only 3 months? That is the question that I continued to ask myself as it made absolutely no sense to me. If you’re outraged by the brand’s lack of sensitivity to others why not boycott them completely. I mean I’ve seen people post videos and chat about the issue, but when boxer Floyd Mayweather came out saying he wouldn’t stop purchasing the brand, I was in his corner.
Let me explain, because Mayweather brought up a valid point about not just tossing the brand to the side because everyone else is doing it. Look wrong is wrong, that sweater did echo blackface and it was evident in more ways than I can imagine. Gucci has come out apologizing for the sweater and implemented plans to remedy such issues from transpiring in the future. Those boycotting the brand are giving the company three months to implement those actions. If all goes well, then they’ll resume purchasing the brand. As with Mayweather, why halt 3 months and then go back to buying the brand. If you boycott something, I’ve always been a proponent that it’s ongoing; you never stop especially if something is done that might be quite heinous or intentional. Are we saying Gucci intentionally released the blackface sweater? No, I cannot make that assertion because I don’t believe that to be the case. However, someone should have spotted the potential problem with the sweater.
As Mayweather eloquently stated in an Instagram post, if you’re going to boycott the brand, why not boycott Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen? Some of you might be saying what’s the connection to Gucci? All these brands are owned by Keurig! So if you’re boycotting Gucci, you should be getting rid of that Keurig maker, YSL, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen and all the other brands tied to Keurig.
Have we heard any celebrities talk about boycotting those brands? Nope, not a single word, and you don’t boycott a brand just to show solidarity with others. Do it because it’s something you want to do, do it because you’re trying to send a message, but at the same time don’t put parameters on things because in the back of your mind you never want to stop purchasing the brand to begin with.
Let me be clear this is not about the brand Gucci, this is not about top designers, this is not about joining a trend, this is about global diversity. The lack that we have such things is leading to this ongoing issue where racism seems to rear its ugly eye week after week in this world. I’ve heard more stories about blackface in the first 2 months of 2019, than I can recall hearing about it in years. For those who are not aware of the issue with blackface that takes several columns to explain in full detail. Let’s just be clear it is nothing to praise and if you are unaware about the issues pertaining to blackface you might want to take a history lesson on the issue in honor of Black History Month.
Written By Kelsey Thomas