I think this weeks reaction to the young lady in the H&M ad with the ‘messy’ after school hair was very telling about what triggers us as a community. If you have not heard about this story, let me give you a quick synopsis. This week H&M put out an ad about a new children’s collection they were debuting and the brand came under fire because one of the children had “unkempt hair”. The streets was heated! see below:
Ngl this had me FUMING!! I don’t understand even if the parents were dumb enough to leave their child’s hair like this which I doubt. H&M is one of the biggest fashion retail stores in the world. They couldn’t do anything about her hair?! For their own site! pic.twitter.com/ANytbZG6q9
— JujuJ🇬🇧🇬🇲🇸🇳•📍🇸🇪 (@jatoujanneh) September 20, 2019
No black mama finna have they child walkin out the door like that lol. It ain’t even about whether her edges need to be laid or not, but if sis hair can’t be *styled* back into a puffball they could’ve easily *styled* a lil fro
— Breezy ✨ (@BrieGotTheJuice) September 20, 2019
Even the stylists were pissed:
View this post on Instagram
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
Now just looking at the picture I can agree with all the sentiments, we know what our hair looks like neat and put together and that’s not it. BUT then if we dived a little deeper, it seems like H&M may have deliberately created the add because all of the children involved had ‘messy’ hair.
H&M intentionally did this btw…for this exact reaction and all the other kids hair being messy is intentional…all of this was planned by a skilled marketing department.
— Dushane’s Food (@Gyalfriend) September 20, 2019
Honestly I was upset after seeing just the black girl.
But then I took my time to check the rest of the kids collection, and they violated every single kid 😂😂😂😂smh pic.twitter.com/aCdLSrBTbf
— Hotgirlsummer is over💆🏾♀️ (@BaiiDa) September 20, 2019
A spokesperson for H&M provided Yahoo Lifestyle with the following statement on the photos:
We are aware of the comments regarding one of our models for H&M Kids. We truly believe that all 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.
There are a ton of opinions about this and for me personally I thought back to my hair after school. My hair looked just like that beautiful little girl, probably worse because my mother never ever used edge control on my hair, ever.
If the idea behind the looks was in fact “after school and natural” then I can certainly understand why all of the children had messy buns, fussy edges and hair falling all over everywhere!
One commenter said that we have to be careful as a community about what we get triggered by because we just brought a ton of attention to a collection that may not otherwise have received our attention if we were truly “OK” with what our hair looks like in any state! H&M knew what the hell they were doing and frankly many of us fell for it hook line and sinker.
The brand just did a huge money grab because, any news is good news!
I want to hear your thoughts, do you think we only accept all states our hair within contextual spaces? Why do we have to have context to avoid outrage?