In the wake of the controversial H&M ad featuring a Black boy wearing a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” sweatshirt, hundreds of people have flocked to social media to condemn the clothing line for their lack of sensitivity and professionalism.
But it’s Black men who seem to be taking a strong stance and who are using their platforms to speak out … very loudly.
LeBron James posted a lengthy message on Instagram, writing: “@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain’t going for it! Straight up! Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied!”
He explained, “We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove.”
T.I. wrote on Instagram: I think This is what @hmmeant to print. RP: @sthuby Don’t Get it FUC*ED UP!!! We account for Trillions in buying power & U WILL RESPECT THAT or we will SHUT YOUR BUSINESSES DOWN!!!! #boycotthandm.”
Even Plies couldn’t bite his tongue, posting this video.
YG said it very simply: “F*ck H&M.”
Along with berating H&M, stars like LeBron and T.I. are reposting a new proud image created by writer, Chris Classics. In a new viral photo, Classics remade the ad to show the young Black model being the King of the World, as opposed to a “monkey in the jungle.”
According to Classics, he made it “because I dont wanna see this young Kings face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M.”
He explained on Instagram, “I’m almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but… this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesnt erase… so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him.”
Classics is a recording artist and world renowned writer who is behind major projects like the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” soundtrack and score and Turbo.
On Monday, The Weeknd confirmed he will be cutting ties with the brand, writing: “Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. i’m deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore.”
Following the fallout, H&M release a statement apologizing for their wildly offensive image.
“We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”