H&M Responds After Young Black Model's Hair Draws Ire On Social Media

Some believed the young girl, who wore her hair in its natural state, was neglected by on-set hairstylists.

H&M faces backlash for photo of Black girl's hair.
Photo Credit: Instagram

| September 23 2019,

12:32 am

H&M has responded to criticism over a photograph of a Black girl with a hairstyle that was perceived to be unkempt.

The photo, which advertises one of the clothing company's hoodie, features a girl with her hair in its natural state and pulled back into a ponytail. Her edges are also in their natural state. 

U.K. hairstylist Vernon Francois brought attention to the image when he posted it on Instagram, saying he doesn't have all the facts, but wants to have a conversation.

François said his post is just an assessment based on past experience. 

"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," Francois wrote. "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."







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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

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François said the photography was probably approved by at least 50 professionals, but none of them looked at the shot and found it disturbing.

"That is an issue," François said. "We must do better. Our girls, our young women deserve better.  Let this be a moment of learning."

Many Instagram users agreed with the post, but some said there is nothing to complain about.

"All I see is a beautiful child. Why you always have to complain about everything?" one Instagram user wrote. 

Another person wrote a similar reply, saying that is her natural hair and it was good for H&M to use this photo to show girls "it's OK if you don't want to slick your hair down." 

The photo also sparked a discussion on Twitter, but most people showed their approval for the natural hairstyle.

"There is a little Black girl whose face is floating around the internet who should be celebrating landing a modeling opportunity for H&M right now," one Twitter user said. "Instead she’ll have to see commentary over how her hair should’ve looked better."



"Thank you, H&M for showing a Black girl whose edges aren't brushed within an inch of its life and letting her edges roam free," another person said on Twitter.



In a statement to Essence, H&M said "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 and we aim for a natural look which reflects that,“ H&M said. 

"She’s a KID. It’s her hair," one Twitter user said, replying to H&M's statement. "You shouldn’t even have to explain yourself." 



In 2018, H&M faced backlash for using a photo of a Black boy in a sweatshirt that read "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle." 




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