Surprisingly, Megyn Kelly was not the only person who had to be to told that blackface is not okay.
Italian luxury fashion house Prada is now under fire for after a series of toys featuring blackface imagery was displayed in the windows of their SoHo store.
Chinyere Ezie, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, noticed the figures from Prada’s “Pradamalia” collection as she passed by the store in downtown New York City last Thursday. The figures, which resemble monkeys, had dark skin and large bright red lips.
Ezie posted photos of the racist toys and her reaction on Facebook.
“I don’t make a lot of public posts,” Ezie began on Facebook. “But right now I’m shaking with anger.”
“Today after returning to NYC after a very emotional visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture including an exhibit on blackface, I walked past Prada’s Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery.”
When Ezie went into the store, she found even more of the offensive collection for sale.
“I entered the store with a coworker, only to be assaulted with more and more bewildering examples of their Sambo like imagery.”
Ezie spoke to a Prada employee and learned she was not the first person to point out the racist imagery.
“When I asked a Prada employee whether they knew they had plastered blackface imagery throughout their store, in a moment of surprising candor I was told that ‘a black employee had previously complained about blackface at Prada, but he didn’t work there anymore.'”
After Ezie’s post went viral, Prada faced a firestorm of backlash across social media. Workers at the SoHo store quickly scrambled to remove the blackface toys.
On Friday Prada released a statement regarding the collection.
[1/2] #Prada Group abhors racist imagery. The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface.— PRADA (@Prada) December 14, 2018
[2/] #Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation.— PRADA (@Prada) December 14, 2018
But people weren’t buying it.
I am a 53 yr old white man in the south. You can Prada oeuvre all you want. I know blackface when I see it and this it— Jingle Bells Webb, Jr.🎅🏻🕎 🎄 (@eastmemphisslim) December 14, 2018
Many wondered how Prada missed the clearly racist imagery in its own collection.
"They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface." HOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW?!?— Ketrina Hoskin (@treenhosk) December 14, 2018
Of course it’s a reference to blackface. It’s like someone looked up blackface and copied every single picture associated with it. You’d have to be brain dead to live in the US and not understand that this is over the top racist.— Kerith Stevens (@hey_kerith) December 14, 2018
howww? HOWWW?? just own up to your wrong. If you abhorred racism this imagery would never have been 'imagined' or 'created'.— Yemie Sonuga (@yemieshow) December 14, 2018
Though some had strong feelings about what the real problem was.
Sounds like you need more POC on your design team and in the approval process. This is Exhibit A on why diversity matters.— Kristi Godden (@Libbykris11) December 14, 2018
Were any people of color involved in any step of the process?— Rob Chappell (@robchappell365) December 14, 2018
This is why you need more diversity on your staff. Any Black employee, you'd listen to, would have told you, "THIS IS A BAD IDEA!" #DiversityMatters— Successful Black Parenting Magazine™ 👶🏾 (@BlackParenting1) December 14, 2018
They sacked the black employee who dared to say, “...er.... I think you might want to rethink this display... “— Sarah-Jane Field (@fieldsarahjane) December 15, 2018
Whether or not Prada’s mistake was intentional, many think it’s time to shut the door on the luxury brand.
The DEVIL sure as hell wears PRADA!!!! Who knew?!!!! pic.twitter.com/7MLzqVfnVM— Kimberly Tobias- Armstrong (@PRINZESKIM) December 15, 2018