Over the last couple of weeks, there have been countless articles dealing with Gucci’s blackface scandal. Every media added little pieces to the global story. Needless to say, this scandal was hard to follow. So, we decided to gather the relevant information to give you a quick summary of the story.
First, The sweater
In early February, Gucci released what they called the wool balaclava jumper, a $ 890 USD sweater. The piece was crafted by Alessandro Michele, the creative director of the Italian house. He reported that he sought his inspiration in Leigh Bowery‘s work, an artist and fashion designer who often used flamboyant face makeup and costumes. This particular piece of clothing is behind the whole Gucci blackface scandal.
Although we can see the similarities between Leigh Bowery’s work and the sweater, the community is not to blame for interpreting racism. In fact, the piece strangely looks like ”blackface”, an ancient form of theatrical makeup used to represent a caricature of a black person.
Needless to say, it took seconds for people to react on social medias. In a moment, the news had gone around the world. Everyone was talking about Gucci’s blackface scandal.
— VENUS🦋"Viva la RESISTANCE!" (@blubuttafly16) February 7, 2019
This has to stop… Y’all know better by now
NO EXCUSES pic.twitter.com/xqrs19L7PC
— Christian D. Harris (@chrxstianh__) February 7, 2019
In addition, lots of celebrities have expressed their anger. For example, 50 Cent made a video where you could see him burning a Gucci t-shirt. Soulja Boy also took position by publicly announcing the removal of his Gucci face tattoo. They were all calling for a boycott.
— Rap-Up (@RapUp) February 13, 2019
Soulja Boy is removing his Gucci forehead tattoo following brand's blackface scandal.
— Complex (@Complex) February 11, 2019
Third, Gucci’s response
With everything that was going on, the company had to react really fast. They almost immediately removed the ”blackface” sweater from their website. Not long after, they published an apology on Twitter.
Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.
We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.
Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
— gucci (@gucci) February 7, 2019
Finally, their diversity program
Regarding the blackface scandal, the company announced to step up diversity hiring as well as introducing a cultural sensitivity training for employees.
”It will hire a global director for diversity and inclusion, a newly created role that will be based in New York, plus five new designers from around the world for its Rome office.” – CTV News
It also will launch multi-cultural scholarship programs in 10 cities around the world with the goal of building a “more diverse and inclusive workplace on an ongoing basis.” – CTV News
But, even with Gucci’s answers critics still strike.
cultural sensitivity training… as if an entire cultural existence/experience can be explained and understood in a 1 week seminar with croissants, coffee, and smoke breaks.
— A.H.R (@___AHR___) February 12, 2019
Gucci is really panicking lol
They throwing scholarships out after their stunt lol
— Night Monkey (@rMell_) February 12, 2019
Gucci’s blackface scandal sure made a lot of noise, and it probably isn’t done. Let’s hope it gives a message to all the major players out there. Will you give a second chance to Gucci? Will it keep its position as the most popular brand in the world?