Clothing Company In Hot Water For Using White Model For ‘Angry Black Woman’ Shirt

Clothing Company In Hot Water For Using White Model For ‘Angry Black Woman’ Shirt

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Online marketplace Zazzle finds itself at the center of a controversy after photos emerged last week featuring white models wearing shirts with messages such as “Nappy,” “Angry Black Woman” and “Black Girl Magic.” YouTuber Jackie Aina first pointed out the controversial photos on Twitter last Tuesday:  

Zazzle allows designers to customize their own merchandise and use a computerized system of stock models already in place, which explains how these pictures could be created without any models actually wearing the clothes and getting a chance to voice their objections (which they almost certainly would have). 

Other shirts included the messages “Melanin & Mascara,” “Unapologetically Black,” Angry Black Woman” and a quote by Maxine Waters. Twitter is not a fan:

Zazzle gave this statement regarding the controversy:

Zazzle is largely a community of designers and makers – individual members who have opened Zazzle accounts to promote and sell their designs and products. We are an open user-generated content marketplace where designers and users can freely upload any design as long as it complies with the terms of our User Agreement. Our designers and customers have a diverse set of views and convictions; we provide a digital platform where they can upload a wide variety of products, whether they are satirical, funny, whimsical, political so long as they observe the aforementioned guidelines.

They continued:

In the case of ‘Black Girl Magic’ T-shirts on the Zazzle website, each designer is shown a series of pre-posed randomized model shots upon which their design is placed. It’s always possible that gender, race and other attributes of the model do not match up to the specifics of the design, given the ratio of our millions of designs to the 100 or so T-shirt styles we offer.  We’re working on an interim fix that doesn’t mismatch out-of-context content to models. At Zazzle, we’re committed to diversity and are working on increasing the diversity of the pre-posed model shots within the T-shirt range itself.

Though the outrage began last week (and there are several black models wearing the shirts), the website has yet to be updated to reflect the company's statement. In this side-by-side, you can see how the same model is being used for multiple shirts: 


Though the issue was, at first, an innocent mistake, it's high time the website corrects what could be seen as an incredibly racist mis-representation. Hop to it, Zazzle!


H/T - Huffpost, The Daily Mail

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