The Weeknd has officially cut ties with H&M after their racist photo controversy. The singer has previously collaborated with the brand but announced that his work with them had come to an end following the photo.
H&M has found itself on the wrong side of a controversy over a kid’s hoodie that reads “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” The Internet has gone crazy since the photo was released, as is expected. The issue was first brought to the attention of the public by New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow, who tweeted a screenshot of the e-commerce page on Sunday night, writing, “@hm, have you lost your damned minds?!?!?!”
It’s definitely possible that H&M didn’t mean anything malicious when they did the shoot, but either way, it is a very insensitive oversight on their behalf. The term ‘monkey’ has been used for centuries to describe black people. The racial slur insinuates that black community is underdeveloped. What’s worse is that they made a black child wear the hoodie in the shoot. In a statement on Monday afternoon, the The Weeknd subsequently tweeted, “woke up this morning shocked and deeply embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore…”
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
One commentator through a curve ball at the situation, however. The commentator suggested that: “If you are shocked you might be part of the problem. Black people aren’t shocked, they are tired of this crap. Time for white people to stop being shocked and kick it up a notch.”
H&M has since apologized. In a statement to The Washington Post, the brand said, “We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”