Italian fashion giant Prada has pulled a new item off of its shelves following accusations of racism.
Business Insider reports the item facing criticism is a small simian figure with a black face and big red lips, a creature created by Prada as part of its holiday "Pradamalia" collection.
One concerned individual, Chinyere Ezie, posted images of a display of the figures in the brand's New York City store to Facebook, calling them "degenerating #blackface imagery" reminiscent of items on display at “the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture including an exhibit on blackface.”
“I entered the store with a coworker, only to be assaulted with more and more bewildering examples of their Sambo-like imagery,” Ezie wrote. “When I asked a Prada employee whether they knew they had plastered blackface imagery throughout their store, in a moment of surprising candor I was told that a Black employee had previously complained about blackface at Prada, but he didn’t work there anymore.”
Ezie's disgust was mirrored on Twitter:
Prada's Blackface collection is inexcusable, especially given all of the profit they make off of Black culture and Black people.— Jeff B. (@TheKidTherapist) December 14, 2018
The fact that they'll remain in business really speaks to how intertwined and deeply conditioned anti-Blackness and capitalism are.
So Prada “studied its DNA” to come up with the Pradamalia line and what it apparently found in its chromosomes was...blackface caricature? https://t.co/QI6x8SZIPb— Jeff Yang (@originalspin) December 14, 2018
In a statement to Business Insider, a Prada spokesperson promised the brand would “withdraw all of the characters in question from display and circulation.”
"Prada Group abhors racist imagery," the fashion house said in a statement according to CNN. "The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. We abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery."
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