While we applaud black twitter for keeping checks and balances of corporate faux paus regarding black culture, we got to take a second and pull in all the facts before building the stake and dousing the lighter fluid…
An H&M photo of a young black girl, quickly set fire under H&M for being negligent to properly style black textured hair in recent campaign. Now H&M is no stranger to this fire. Last year, the brand was in the news for having a little black boy wear a shirt that read ” The coolest money in the jungle” That track record aided none when photos of this young black girl surfaced on the internet people began lighting matches.
Celebrity Stylist Chimed In
My heart breaks imagining yet another girl from my community sitting in front of a mirror being ignored by the team around her, left to her own devices because someone didn’t know how to handle her texture.Vernon Francois | Celebrity Hairstylist
Celebrity hairstylist Vernon Francois, snatches high profile clients like, Lupita N’yongo, Ava DuVernay, Serena Williams, to note a few, for covers like Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Essence,People –you catch the vibe! He has been in the industry a long time and has used his platform to advocate embracing natural hair texture. Vernon noted he didn’t have all the facts but had some valid points for the state of the Beauty AD industry for people of color.
It’s essential that we have a conversation about this photograph from the @hm_kids campaign. Before I begin, I do not have the facts, nor have I seen any statement by #H&M or the team who worked on this. This post is just an assessment based on all my years of seeing situations like this happen time and time again. And its got to stop. This beautiful young girl’s #kinky hair appears to have had very little to no attention yet all of her counterparts have clearly sat in front of someone who was more then capable of styling other hair textures. My heart breaks imagining yet another girl from my community sitting in front of a mirror being ignored by the team around her, left to her own devices because someone didn’t know how to handle her texture.
As if that’s not bad enough…. Prior to this campaign appearing this photograph will have been seen and APPROVED by countless ‘professionals’. Lets say conservatively 50 people. It’s breathtaking to me that not one person looked at this shot and had the same reaction that the internet seems to be feeling since the campaign broke. THAT IS AN ISSUE. We must do better. Our girls, our young women deserve better. Let this be a moment of learning. #Education is key #wehavetodobetter#vernonfrancois#Ignorance#blackgirlmagic#allhairisgoodhair
Facts & Fresh Perspective Come to Light
People begin to note that the young black girl was not the only one with unkept hair.
Essence reaches out to H&M and they responded
“We are aware of the comments regarding one of our models for H&M Kids. We truly believe that all kids should be allowed to be kids. The school aged kids who model for us come to the photo studio in the afternoon after school.”H&M |
Why don’t we accept 4C hair texture unless it is styled, laid ?
Vernon Chimes in with more facts and brings another powerful truth to the conversation
I understand the criticism but beneath that there is a knee jerk reaction to reject natural black baby hairs.Vernon Francois | Instagram Story
H&M’s Head of Diversity & Inclusion Ezinne Kwubiri Joined the Conversation #LetsTalk
It’s important to keep this in mind when having these “internet” conversations as words are very powerful. They can uplift, and they can hurt.Ezinne kwubiri
#LetsTalk I’m the one on the left. The image on the right has sparked so much dialogue in the past several hours. Talking points that are centuries old and have been hashed and re-hashed at kitchen sinks, beauty shops, and front porches.
A few points to make… I am both of these girls. In my hair’s most natural state, I look just like this. If I weren’t so fearful of society’s response, I would embrace and celebrate my hair the way it grows out of my scalp. The child models (there were several) used in this photoshoot embraced their natural, every day, carefree looks. Like everyday children always do.
This young lady is likely still exploring her self-identity and her perception of beauty, and how those things might connect to her hair texture, skin tone, lips, brows, etc. I certainly was at her age. It’s important to keep this in mind when having these “internet” conversations as words are very powerful. They can uplift, and they can hurt. She should be afforded the same carefree joy and vulnerability as the other kid models. The adult brown skin girl that is me, wishes one day to have the same.
Also, the presence of hair stylists on a wide variety of sets with the ability to work with a diverse pool of models with different hair textures is sorely lacking. I stand with these hair stylists that are using their platform to bring awareness to this gap & I am committed to continuing the conversation to promote diversity and change.
Perception is a wide spectrum. Everyone should take responsibility for their own role in a creating & circulating their opinions based solely on their own biased experiences. Look within yourself & think of your contribution to this conversation. I know I am using my experiences as a tool to educating people that don’t look like me nor share my experiences. The work continues
Also, the presence of hair stylists on a wide variety of sets with the ability to work with a diverse pool of models with different hair textures is sorely lacking.Ezinne Kwubiri
So why isn’t there always a Skilled Expert consulted for campaigns ?
Celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway understands the campaigns message but points out the opportunities for experts are not presented
Are Hairstylist with ability to master diverse hair Lacking or just Type Casted ?
I just met and sang Celebrity Hairstylist, Lacy Redway’s praises in Toronto during the film festival. My words rang with her not putting her skillset in one lane. Her current client portfolio ranges from black to white. The reality is that as a hairstylist if you begin styling black hair you are casted in a pool to only be booked to style black hair. I congratulated her on not being type casted.
The biggest takeaway from this false alarm is we need continue the conversation and commit to change on every level.