Fashion brands apparently employ no one who can say, “Hey, guys, maybe we shouldn’t market this item that looks like blackface.”
Katy Perry’s fashion label (because what singer doesn’t get their own fashion line?) released two pairs of shoes recently — a pair of mules and a pair of sandals — that have already been pulled from stores for appearing racist. Each version of the shoe is black, with big red lips near the toe, a large triangle nose and large blue eyes that seem to scream “kill me.” The problem for the shoes is that the nose and eyelids appear to be a light skin tone, which against the black background evokes memories of the horrible minstrel act of history. There is a beige version of each shoe using the same eyes and nose.
Dillards and Walmart will remove the two pairs of shoes, according to TMZ.
Just last week, high-end brand Gucci pulled a black turtleneck from its collection because it allowed wearers to pull the neck up over their face to reveal a cutout surrounded by big red lips. As The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti previously reported, this odd feature allowed people “to keep their cheeks warm in cold weather,” or look “a little like a lunatic in their streetwear.”
Gucci apologized for the sweater.
“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make,” the brand said. “We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online store and all physical stores.”
Luxury brand Prada also faced a backlash earlier this year after it revealed a line of products that appeared to depict blackface. The products were featured in the store’s display window. Several of the items appeared to be black monkeys with big red lips (pro tip for other fashion designers: Notice this pattern). The products were pulled and the company apologized.
“Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation,” the brand said in a statement.
The Gucci and Katy Perry atrocities come during Black History Month, and at the same time the Democrat governor and attorney general of Virginia are facing their own blackface scandals. Each appeared in blackface during their college days in the 1980s. Mark Herring, the AG, admitted to the insult, while Ralph Northam, the governor, at first admitted to appearing in a picture as a medical student either in blackface or wearing a KKK robe, but quickly walked it back and is now claiming he’s not in the picture.
Katy Perry herself has not apologized for the offensive footwear, but “sources” told TMZ the shoes were designed and released by the pop singer, and that, “In order to be respectful and sensitive the team is in the process of pulling the shoes.”
Perhaps this will finally teach designers to stop making products that look like an offensive minstrel act.