Prada pulls products accused of blackface imagery

Lawrence Kim
December 16, 2018

The company contented that these are "imaginary creatures" and "certainly not blackface".

'I don't make a lot of public posts, but right now I'm shaking with anger.

Pradamalia, "a new family of mysterious tiny creatures that are one part biological, one part technological, all parts Prada", can be found on T-shirts, wallets, necklace charms, earrings and in ad campaigns. It was a cruel reminder of how history continues to repeat itself.

"Many are comparing "Otto", a resulting mutation of one of Prada's oldest mascots, the monkey, to Little Sambo, a children's book character from 1899, who exemplified the pickaninny style of blackface caricature", wrote Diet Prada's Lindsey Schuyler and Tony Liu. "Black America deserves better", the activist said.

Prada has denied intentionally using racist imagery when designing the dolls, but has also said that they'll pull the figurines from sale, production and display immediately. And we demand better, ' she added.

In this context, it's surprising that Prada was not more sensitive to how this monkey trinket might be interpreted when it left Prada Labs and went out into the world.

On social media, Ezie called out the luxury brand.

Controversial Prada window display in Soho.

And yet it still denies that it had any connection to blackface: "Prada Group abhors racist imagery", the statement says.

She also pointed out that this kind of oversight would probably never have happened if Prada had any people of color in positions of power, suggesting a long list of consultants and board members they could hire to rectify the situation.

In the U.S., slave owners justified slavery by saying black people were genetically like monkeys. Some said they will boycott the brand in response.

Chinyere even posted a comparison of Prada's character side-by-side with racist depictions of black people, showing how closely the two resembled each other.

The designer brand tweeted about the figure and displayed it prominently on its website, but took down the tweets and removed the cartoon from its homepage.

By this morning, word of the rising furor had reached the store in Manhattan where Chinyere saw the display. "In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation", the statement read.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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