New York, Dec 15 (IANS) Luxury fashion house Prada has withdrawn products after some items displayed at the front of a store here were seen as depicting blackface imagery.
The products, part of Prada’s “Pradamalia” line, were pulled on Friday after images surfaced of some merchandise depicting monkey-like figures with black faces and large red lips, reports CNN.
New York-based civil rights attorney Chinyere Ezie spotted the products at the Prada store in Manhattan’s Soho shopping district on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, Ezie, who had visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington recently, wrote that she was struck by how the items looked similar to images she saw in an exhibit on blackface at the museum and that seeing the products left her “shaking with anger”.
As of Friday afternoon, Ezie’s post had been shared more than 9,000 times.
Prada said in a statement on Friday that the “Pradamalia” products depict “imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface”.
“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.”
Ezie told CNN later on Friday said she felt Prada’s response constituted the “same paltry excuses that we’ve heard throughout history about racist imagery”.
Prada is “a multinational, multibillion dollar company. They can do their own research about what these painful images mean. There was no mistaking it, there was no ambiguity”.
Blackface is a form of theatrical make-up used by non-black performers to represent a caricature of a black person.
The African American community has deemed the form as racially insensitive.