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The Mother Of The H&M’s ‘Coolest Monkey In The Jungle’ Kid Model Doesn’t Think There Is A Problem At All

Image Source: H&M / Twitter
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You have likely seen the backlash that occurred after one of H&M’s recent campaigns, in which a black little boy is pictured wearing a sweater with the words “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” written on the front. Many people, including a bunch of celebrities, were offended by the photo; they claimed that the campaign was racist because all other kids that participated in the campaign were white. Boycotting the brand was brought up by many people, as well.

People with darker skin are sensitive about the “monkey” word because it has been used as a racial insult for black people in the past and used as a way to discriminate against them. It seems like a lot of people still get offended nowadays, and it seems clear that a lot of them considered the advertisement photo as a form of provocation.

However, the mother of the boy that modeled for the photo shoot decided to publicly share her opinion about the issue, and some may find it surprising.

The mother’s name is Terry Mango, and she made it clear that she does not see any kind of problem or provocation embedded in the advertisement. She shared her point of view on social media. Her Facebook post stated that she was present during all campaign photo shoots and that her son had been photographed with hundreds of different outfits; the one that caused the controversy just happened to be one of them.

She claimed that the majority of people who see a real problem are just overreacting, adding that the fuss about a single photograph is pointless and useless at the same time.

But it seems that a lot of people think differently, and they also posted their personal opinions mostly via Twitter.
One of those people was Alex Medina, who addressed his post directly to the Swedish company, asking for an explanation. He stated that it is very unprofessional to allow such controversial things to appear and that it indicates negligence, to say the least. He also noticed that all other kids in this particular campaign were white.

Karamo Brown was apparently very angry as well, saying that posting such a campaign was very irresponsible and even kind of disgusting. He explained the dark history of the word “monkey” and how it was used to purposely demean African people. He could not believe that such content had actually reached the official website.

When the scandal picked up speed, H&M decided to remove the image without simultaneously releasing a statement or an explanation about the ad campaign.

An H&M spokesman spoke to The Daily Mail and said that they removed the photo due the controversy that occurred, and also said that the company management would like to apologize to everyone who felt offended in any way.

What is interesting about this case is that it is not the first scandal in the fashion brand’s history. A couple of years ago, H&M stepped into the African market with its first two stores on the continent; they were located in Cape Town and Sandton. Things did not exactly go as planned.

Someone in marketing department of the company had apparently decided that there was no need to put black models on posters around the shops. This caused a huge wave of negative comments. H&M tried to make things better, and company officials said that the idea was to bring a more positive feeling, but this only created a bigger issue. People took this as if the company was saying that black models would not create as positive feeling as the white ones would.
In an attempt to calm everyone down, H&M tweeted that they have featured models from many ethnic groups in their campaigns over the years, mentioning names like Salma Hayek, Naomi Campbell, Kendall Jenner, Imaan Hammam, Liu wen, and others. They also mentioned that Doutzen Kroes and Aya Jones are coming up as faces of upcoming campaigns.

It is hard to say whether that post made things any better, even by a little bit, but one thing is for sure—H&M obviously finds it hard to learn from past mistakes. Even if most people do not consider the recent photo of the boy to be a significant problem, it is clearly unacceptable to release advertising materials that may be offensive to certain groups.

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Written by Patrick Bennet

I have been working as a teacher my whole life. I love reading books.

I love writing about all kind of different and interesting facts. It's not only exciting, but I learn something new every day. What I learn I share it with you guys. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

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