“Colonizers Aren’t Praised In Wakanda”: Forever 21 Apologizes And Removes Image Of White Model Wearing Black Panther Sweater

We previously discussed the controversy covered by the New York Times over whether white parents should allow their children to dress as the Black Panther for Halloween. Now, people rise up in anger after Forever 21 used a white model in an advertisement for a Black Panther sweater. Most people would simply observe that the company is selling to people of all races who admire the superhero. Instead, Forever 21 apologized.

The model wore a sweater that read “Wakanda Forever.”

View image on Twitter

Social media users objected to the race of the model. One wrote: “Hey Forever 21, in what universe did you think it was OK to feature a white model in Wakanda gear? Granted, chances are you knew it wasn’t OK, but still as a former #21Men brand specialist for the company. I’m highly offended.” a social media user wrote. Another wrote “Wow Forever 21 is tone deaf af. Colonizers aren’t praised in Wakanda. Try again.”

Forever 21 deleted pictures of the model according to E! News and stated, “Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way.”

Yet, the apology would suggest that it was wrong for a white model to wear a Black Panther shirt. It is hard to figure out what the standard will be going forward. Does this mean that the company will also discourage or restrict such sales to black customers? Is the company saying that it will now only interview models on the basis of race for different superhero products?

78 thoughts on ““Colonizers Aren’t Praised In Wakanda”: Forever 21 Apologizes And Removes Image Of White Model Wearing Black Panther Sweater”

  1. There is an intense push for segregation in modern times. There are those who don’t want non-black people, including kids, dressing up as black superheroes or famous people.

    The mechanism by which art, fashion, ideas, and inventions have flowed among all of humanity is now condemned as cultural appropriation. I wonder to what distant culture we owe reparations for appropriating the wheel, and fire, and the replacement of the awl with a needle pulling thread.

    What the Left is fighting for is for black actors to make less money, and for studios to make less money on black films, because they can get less merchandise revenue. Eventually, we may reach the point where some costumes will be labeled as “blacks only.” Perhaps other races will get in on the identity game, and there will be a whole plethora of Jim Crow labels and punishing retribution for missteps.

    Wakanda isn’t real. It’s screenplay was written by white SJW who fantasized about how wonderful an African country would be if it had never been contacted by Europeans. We already know what isolated indigenous tribes are like who have never had contact. They are in the same state that they’ve existed in for thousands of years, and haven’t even discovered metallurgy yet. However, Black Panther was certainly enjoyable. I found T’Challa to be extraneous. Okoye was the real super hero without any magic plant.

    If the Left gets its way, and the only people who end up buying the Black Panther costumes, action figures, and other memorabilia are black people, then the loss in revenue would be millions. Perhaps all this pressure will make it less likely that white people will buy the movie, too, out of a vague sense of guilt.

    Then, the Left will complain that black actors don’t get cast very much in such movies, and when they do, they don’t make as much as white actors in merchandise royalties. Because white privilege.

    Or everyone could stop plucking their own feathers out, settle down, and just be happy that people like the movie and want to dress up as the action heroes, regardless of race. White kids happily playing Black Panther is a testament that racism is so rare in America. Now the Left has gone and made innocent kids feel bad for admiring a black character. Made them think they are wrong and bad to do so, because they are the wrong color. That makes kids who didn’t care about race suddenly care, and judge, race. Democrats just cannot seem to shake the habit of identity politics, and evaluating worth based on race. With its history, you would think they would have stopped this.

  2. The racists opposing that model’s right to wear a sweater are clearly against Denzel Washington’s appearances as “Ben Marco” in the reboot of The Manchurian Candidate or the title role in The Equalizer, Will Smith’s appearances as “James West” in The Wild, Wild West and “Robert Neville” in the 2007 version of I Am Legend and Idris Elba’s casting as the latest incarnation of James Bond.

    The remedy for racism in the past and its remaining consequences isn’t more racism, but that seems to be what we’re offered – even when offered up to us by Presidents, regardless of their tan.

  3. The concept of “race” is itself too shaky to govern who may wear which garments.

    At what level of African ancestry would that model have been permitted to wear that sweater? 1/2? The 1970-1983 Louisiana standard of more than 1/32nd? Before 1970, Louisiana’s official standard was “any traceable amount” of Black ancestry – the 1970 law was a misguided attempt to make official determination or race rigorous enough for use in the courts – if you had more than 1/32nd Black ancestry, you were officially Black.

    It seems to me that the people who attacked that model’s rrght to wear a sweater depicting a fictional Black superhero from a fictional African country are just as misguided as the Louisiana State Legislature was until 1953, when the 1/32nd rule was repealed.

    Forever21 ought to have directed its critics to the Federal Civil Rights Acts and pleading that it had no legal or moral right to deny its models employment in modelling an article of clothing based on their race.

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