Artist reimagines racist H&M ad with young model as royalty

    Artist Chris Classic shares artwork of Black boy with rightful crown

    A New York-based artist and musician took the disparaging image of a Black boy wearing a racist H&M hoodie and turned it into an image celebrating the boy’s status as a king.

    “I made this because I dont wanna see this young Kings face anymore with the shirt he was hired to wear by H&M,” artist Chris Classic wrote in the caption of his redone image.

    “I’m almost certain the Persson Family and their $31 Billion wont care in Sweden but… this lil guy will see his pics and the mockery one day because the internet doesnt erase… so I just hope he gets to see this one or any like it that celebrate him. #mysavoirfaire,” he added.

    In the image, the boy model has a crown drawn not only over his head but over the insensitive phrase on the hoodie, which reads, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”

    Instead of a racially insensitive phrase, Classic wrote the phrase “King of the World” over the image. He also changed the H&M logo so that it read “SHAME.”

    So-called apology

    In a statement provided to the New York Daily News, H&M somewhat apologized. “This image has now been removed from all H&M channels and we apologise to anyone this may have offended,” they said.

    However, the Sweden-based company’s apology did little to extinguish the public flames.

    In addition, H&M offered another apology to CBS MoneyWatch: “We sincerely apologize for this image. It has been now removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States. We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do, and will be reviewing our internal routines.”

    History of racism

    Most noteworthy, this isn’t the first time H&M has been in hot water over race. In 2015, H&M South Africa was ironically called out for not having any Black models.

    The brand only made things worse with its apology when it explained that the use of white models portrayed a more “positive image.” Of course, the statement was quickly slammed as tone deaf.