Simply Monkey Business

Happy New Year and well, well, welcome to 2018! I will fill you in on my absence later on in the week but I just felt the need to get this out there and address the monkey on our back.

I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the uproar about H&M and their decision to market their ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ hoodie by using a Black model. I’ve read a lot of comments from posts popping up on my timeline and I’ve heard both sides of the argument. Now I’ll throw my 2 pence worth into the mix.

I’ve seen a few people say that it’s only a hoodie, it’s harmless. Why do we always see everything as a race issue? No, not everything is a race issue but when it is we won’t be afraid to call it as we see it. Yes, it is simply a hoodie and he’s simply a cute kid who may well behave like the ‘coolest little monkey’. But unfortunately the world isn’t that simple. As much as we would like to paint a picture of an ideal society and a world where racism doesn’t exist there are some fuckwits out there who simply don’t give a shit or in H&M’s case, want to make a buck!

Some of you may be fooled by their apology but I’m not buying it. For a multimillion pound company there are way too many people who would have seen this before it was put out there. Even if it were genuinely put on him without a second thought of a racist link at the photo shoot, you would think at least one person in the whole of marketing and advertising looked at it sideways and made a suggestion to leave it to one side…wouldn’t you?

In today’s current climate you’re telling me not one person put it out there? Without a doubt I would, but it’s possible you wouldn’t, and for the white majority and a Black minority I wouldn’t expect you to, because you simply don’t get it. And quite frankly I’m tired of explaining.

And for those of you who say they wouldn’t purposely put it out and hurt their sales, wake up. They know their arses are covered and “slip ups” like these won’t matter much and will soon be forgotten when they offer you some type of “bargain” in the sales.

Just a few weeks ago a friend of mine was out on his way to his Christmas do, when a van drove by and threw a banana at him. Naturally he was upset by this as you can imagine, what with it being 2017 (then) and them being supposedly grown, hairy arsed “men”. He mentioned he could have been with his children at the time and pondered when racism was going to end. Now he was on his own, minding his own business, and it was simply the colour of his skin and the connotation synonymous with Black people and monkeys that caused their reaction to him. Believe it or not that is simply all it takes – trust me, WE know!

Things haven’t got any better they are going backwards and getting worse. The only upside is more folk are awake this time around and won’t let things slide as easily, no matter how petty others may deem it to be.

To be fair it’s a parents choice. I don’t know whether this models parents knew exactly what he had been modelling that day and which pictures would be put out to the public, but I’m really hoping they weren’t all about the money. As a Black woman I wouldn’t be buying it for my children to wear or allow them to model it. I don’t associate my girls with monkeys, cheeky or cool, and I’m not giving anybody – big or small – ammunition to throw at my child.

Kids can be cruel and are raised by aforementioned fuckwits, passing on their hate. That’s why I was determined to pass on OurStory to my girls, to let them know the real deal. They were named after an Egyptian goddess and a highly talented Black woman whose name means honour confers a crown – they are my royalty and I won’t allow anyone to paint them as anything less.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to do the same with your children. I’ve noticed a lot more of our youth are embracing their culture and heritage and it’s a blessing to see. We just need to find a way to get through to more of them.

The death toll for our young in this New Year is too high already. As corny as it sounds they are our future and there is a whole wealth of talent out there in every aspect. We need to start doing and building our own. Easier said than done I know, but doable. It has been done before and can be done again. It’s as simple as that.



R.I.P to all those who have lost their lives this week.

We Are Lions – Hear Us Roar! Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

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