Photo: The Grapevine
Rachel Dolezal, the former NAACP chapter president who resigned after her Caucasian parents publicly revealed her lack of African American roots is back in a media firestorm and apparently for the same offense… trying to profit off of cultural appropriation.
Unless you’ve been under a rock you know this week has be a challenging one for H&M. The European fashion chain received major backlash after a UK digital campaign featuring a little black boy wearing a green hoodie inscribed “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” went viral. Artists like The Weeknd and G Easy have both publicly ended partnerships with the brand over their ‘Disturbing’ and ‘Racially Insensitive’ ad prompting the clothing giant to issue an apology.
While Instagram has been flooded with memes and drawings of the young Black boy wearing a crown and a hoodie inscribed with words of affirmation of his #BlackBoyJoy and greatness, Rachel Dolezal decided to take it a step further. In a now deleted Instagram post, the budding fashion designer unveiled her own green hoodie that read “Coolest Prince in the Hood.” She states “Here is my protest hoodie to counter H&M’s “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” shirt. I had to… because my son was called a “monkey” in second grade. After educating the school officials about the historical context of the slur & demanding they operate under a zero tolerance policy for this type of harassment, the student was suspended… This hits home with many of us moms I’m sure. So I spent today designing this new hoodie that my little son will be wearing with pride.”
It didn’t take long for Twitter and Instagram alike to drag her prompting her to change her slogan from “Coolest Prince in the Hood” to “Coolest Prince in the World.” One Twitter user wrote “This is hilarious I’m sorry. A White woman who pretended to be Black is protesting a racially insensitive ad with a racially insensitive hoodie. It’s like we’re in an SNL sketch.”
There is a difference between being authentic, wanting to promote the advancement of diversity and equality among all races and choosing to be a culture vulture and try to make a profit off of it. Clearly a difference Dolezal has yet to understand or master. And to that I mash up a quote by the great Robin Roberts and Angela Rye “Bye Felicia, We don’t own you like Zora. Deuces.”