Prada’s newest campaign features a number of “mysterious creatures” that are “part biological, one part technological, all parts Prada.” But a civil rights lawyer says they are reminiscent of blackface.
Having recently returned from a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., where she viewed an exhibit on blackface, Ezie walked past Prada’s window display in New York City when she was shocked to see the “very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery.”
Prada bills the characters, the Pradamalia, as mysterious tiny creatures that have escaped the Prada labs. Accoreding to Prada’s website: “The seven new creatures … each exhibit supernatural powers and a few glaring quirks. Raised in isolation within the austere confines of Prada Labs … [their features] in the Pradamalia morphology include metal studs, ombre tones, polished wood, printed lips, and the iconic Saffiano leather.”
In response to Ezie’s claims, the company has pledged to “withdraw” its characters, sharing the following statement with Yahoo Lifestyle: “Prada Group abhors racist imagery. The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. We abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. We will withdraw all of the characters in question from display and circulation.”
In the meantime, the hurt and anger felt by Ezie was evident in her post. “I entered the store with a coworker, only to be assaulted with more and more bewildering examples of their Sambo like imagery,” wrote the attorney, who focuses on racial justice, gender justice and LGBT rights work. “History cannot continue to repeat itself. Black America deserves better. And we demand better.”
Many commenters agreed with Ezie’s sentiment. “Unbelievable, hurtful and absolutely inexcusable,” one person shared. “With pain in my heart, this is a disgrace for any person with any sense of equality and humanity,” another wrote.
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