We were all pissed when Gucci released their egregiously tacky Blackface-like balaclava turtleneck.
As Blavity reported, the brand apologized for the item, but the damage was already done. Now, Marcus “Mars” Simpson has developed the best possible clapback to the luxury brand’s supposed accident: a similar sweater that uses stereotypically white features as its starting point.
Speaking with Blavity, the Only The Brave co-founder said his thin-lipped sweater started out as a way for him to use his creativity to express his outrage.
“I wanted others to experience this anguish, this frustration,” Simpson told Blavity via email. “I felt maybe they’d understand how wrong it is if I could create something that put them in our shoes. So basically, I flipped it on them. I played a game of opposites. In my own crazy way, I went high because they went low. I changed the white woman to black woman, the black shirt to beige, the big lips to tiny lips and I posted it with a pounding heart.”
The creator said he knew he could face backlash, but he couldn’t hold it in. His determination paid off when the picture went viral.
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“I knew it’d resonate with my people, I knew it’d offend white fragility, and I also knew I’d madden some people of color, and also receive support from some white people,” Simpson said. “I just wanted us to be heard and felt. And I think it came through!”
Only The Brave sells shirts with a message, but the artist said he did not intend to sell the turtleneck when he posted it on Instagram. He changed his mind after receiving a lot of positive feedback. And don’t worry, you won’t have to use your rent money.
“The piece was not initially intended to sell,” he said. “But I have since reached out to a manufacturer who is willing to co-produce the Pale Face Turtleneck. We are gauging demand to see how feasible it’d be. And we definitely would not exploit people with the ridiculous price of $890. It’d be closer to $50.”
Check out Simpson’s other work on Only The Brave’s website.
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