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Prada Pulls ‘Blackface’ Toys From Their Shelves After Social Media Firestorm

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.

Posted by Chinyere Ezie on Thursday, December 13, 2018

“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.

Chinyere Ezie/Facebook
Chinyere Ezie/Facebook

“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.

But people weren’t buying it.

Many wondered how Prada missed the clearly racist imagery in its own collection.

Though some had strong feelings about what the real problem was.

Whether or not Prada’s mistake was intentional, many think it’s time to shut the door on the luxury brand.

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Written by Dennis Matthew Livesey

Matt is a writer, designer, and native New Yorker. He has worked in film, where he enjoyed a brief career as a stand-in for Ian Holm; finance, where he pretended to understand his job, and real estate, where nothing remarkable happened. He writes about science, technology, and media. His work includes magazine articles, one published book, and the looming inevitability of the second.