H&M has stirred the pot with a few controversies before this, but none could hold a candle to the magnitude of this current one. Twitter users fumed in anger as they found out that H&M published a photo of an African American kid wearing a hoodie that spells out “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle.” Some have dug even deeper and claimed that the brand has used a white child for a sweater that says, “Survival Expert.”

The controversy can all be traced back to the implied meaning of the word ‘monkey,’ used often in a racially prejudiced manner to discern black people from the whites back during the days of slavery. It’s little wonder then why the publication of such a photo sparked a wildfire of criticism amongst Twitter users.

As the photos circulated, big name celebrities have taken notice and are weighing in their opinions. Abel Tesfaye a.k.a The Weeknd was one of the first to speak out, saying he was deeply offended proceeded to immediately cut ties with the brand after collaborating on a fashion line together. G-Eazy did the same as well shortly after that.

Diddy, LeBron James, even Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United took to Instagram to voice out their opinions on this, editing the picture with a crown and substituting the word monkey with king.

H&M has since issued an apology statement on all social media platforms, and spokesperson Anna Eriksson went on to say, “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologize to anyone this may have offended.”

The Swedish brand then came out with a longer statement of the apology, after even more severe backlash on how the apology was structured and deemed to be insincere and frank;y, hollow. The second statement reads:

To all customers, staff, media, stakeholders, partners, suppliers, friends and critics.

We would like to put on record our position in relation to the image and promotion of a children’s sweater, and the ensuing response and criticism.

Our position is simple and unequivocal—we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.

H&M is fully committed to playing its part in addressing society’s issues and problems, whether it’s diversity, working conditions or environmental protection—and many others. Our standards are high and we feel that we have made real progress over the years in playing our part in promoting diversity and inclusion. But we clearly haven’t come far enough.

We agree with all the criticism that this has generated—we have got this wrong and we agree that, even if unintentional, passive or casual racism needs to be eradicated wherever it exists. We appreciate the support of those who have seen that our product and promotion were not intended to cause offence but, as a global brand, we have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities—and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.

This incident is accidental in nature, but this doesn’t mean we don’t take it extremely seriously or understand the upset and discomfort it has caused.

We have taken down the image and we have removed the garment in question from sale. It will be recycled.

We will now be doing everything we possibly can to prevent this from happening again in future.

Racism and bias in any shape or form, conscious or unconscious, deliberate or accidental, are simply unacceptable and need to be eradicated from society. In this instance we have not been sensitive enough to this agenda.

Please accept our humble apologies.


However, in an odd turn of events, the mother of the child model, has spoken out on the issue. Terry Mango claims that she knew what was happening, and has since criticised the controversy for crying wolf.

One of her comments in the screenshot read:

“Am the mum and this is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modelled,” Mango wrote, according to screenshots of the messages. “Stop crying wolf all the time, unnecessary issue here… get over it.”

It’s quite apparent this was clearly an unintentional mistake, as given on how the mother of the model was fully aware of what’s happening, it probably would not have been a racial issue as the statement was a very innocent one. However, given the size of H&M, the company should’ve known better and researched on proper historical backgrounds relating to certain terminologies to avoid such mistakes.

What do you think? Was it An Honest Mistake? Or a ridiculous oversight and obliviousness where there shouldn’t be in 2018?

UPDATE (15/01/18): A resistance group in Africa who called themselves Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have taken it upon themselves to vandalise H&M stores in South Africa, prompting H&M’s upper management to close down 17 shops all across South Africa.

Lupe Fiasco Talks About His New Show: Beat N Path

Rapper Lupe Fiasco may be known for his contributions to the biggest musical genre of the 21st century than his passion for martial arts, but the award-winning star is more than just good at rhyming - and you'll be seeing it first hand in Beat N Path, a...

Rap group Public Enemy is collaborating with Supreme and UNDERCOVER

There's no doubt Supreme are one of the most iconic streetwear brands of this decade, and there's no shortage of collaborations worth picking up as a piece of the new streetwear movement coming out for this subversive brand, which at one point sold a...

Virgil Abloh x Nike Air Force One “White” Images Released

The successful Virgil Abloh x Nike collaboration is set to continue its dominance of the sneaker market with the release of these new pictures of the new "White" Nike Air Force One collaboration model. The Air Force One, one of Nike's most iconic...

Marvel Studios and Fear of God auctioned a Black Panther cast-only jacket

Marvel Studio's Black Panther is a worldwide phenomenon, and while we're definitely predicting a rise in great black and silver jubahs ala King T'challa this Raya, the movie already had some roots in the world of fashion! This Bespoke Emmanuel Jacket - the...

Marvel and Vans are hinting at a collaboration

Marvel fans, get ready to get off the wall, as Vans and the House of Ideas are teasing a collaboration! With Avengers: Infinity War just around the corner, you can be sure to expect tons of cool Marvel merch popping up over the next month or so, and this...

Nike Unlaced: Nike, Especially For Women

It’s pretty well-known that sneaker culture worldwide has always been focused around the male side of things, not much so for the women, even though some have given significant contributions in the name of sport. Take for example Serena Williams, who has...

Mark Hamill, Margot Robbie, Chadwick Boseman, and more hit the Red Carpet at the 2018 Oscars!

The 90th Academy Awards, or better known to us millennials as the 2018 Oscars, is well underway! With a slew of exciting films slated for awards, the red carpet was filled with Hollywood's cream of the crop in attendance for the biggest night in the film...

Could Another Acronym Presto Be In The Works?

Techwear has been in a bit of a crawl the past few months, but not for Acronym. After teasing a new laceless Vapormax model, the brand takes another stab at recolouring its previous collaboration model, the Acronym Presto. Previous colourways of the Presto...