Nationwide — Retail giant H&M is once again under fire for using a young Black girl model in one of their ads, but not styling her hair before the photoshoot. Celebrity hairstylist Vernon Francois, who is Black, pointed out the issue on his Instagram and it has since generated different opinions.
Francois posted a screenshot of the Instagram post. He said in the caption that even though he doesn’t know all the facts behind the campaign, he has some idea based on similar situations he said he had repeatedly seen before.
“It’s got to stop. This beautiful young girl’s #kinky hair appears to have had very little to no attention yet all of her counterparts have clearly sat in front of someone who was more than capable of styling other hair textures,” he wrote in the caption of his post. “My heart breaks imagining yet another girl from my community sitting in front of a mirror being ignored by the team around her, left to her own devices because someone didn’t know how to handle her texture.”
He also pointed out that the photos would have undergone extensive reviewing and approval process before it was released. He said, “It’s breathtaking to me that not one person looked at this shot and had the same reaction that the internet seems to be feeling since the campaign broke. THAT IS AN ISSUE.”
A lot of people agreed with him including celebrities Cynthia Ervo, Sydelle Noel, and Amber Riley. Some even brought up H&M’s controversial ad in early 2018 where a little Black boy was pictured wearing a sweatshirt that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”
On the other hand, there were other Black people who had a different point of view on the issue. Some think that it simply represents an accurate depiction of the girl’s hair in its natural state.
Moreover, H&M issued a statement saying all the young models, not just the Black girl, were featured with their unkempt hair.
“We are aware of the comments regarding one of our models for H&M Kids. We truly believe that all kids should be allowed to be kids. The school aged kids who model for us come to the photo studio in the afternoon after school and we aim for a natural look which reflects that.”