H&M is trying to learn from its mistakes—at least, we hope so.
The popular clothing retailer is teaming up with the South African Ahmed Kathrada Foundations (AKF), a marketing team, in order to take a look at racism in advertising and prevent another social media firestorm like the one that ensued after the company launched a “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoodie.
H&M saw massive protests over that hoodie, which many saw as a racist since they chose to use a young Black boy as their model.
Now, H&M and AKF are coming together to make sure nothing like that happens again.
Over the weekend, AKF Director Neeshan Bolton announced the collaboration and at the same time acknowledged the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who staged massive protests following the hoodie controversy.
”They [H&M] admitted they were wrong and are trying to understand how to undo their mistake. Part of that engagement was because of the EFF demonstration. We had planned a demonstration after the EFF launched their protest, we could not proceed because we couldn’t match their scale,” Balton said, according to Citizen.
H&M goes to South Africa
As part of the team-up, H&M will be sending its marketing team to South Africa. There, they will be able to learn firsthand from AKF’s experiences.
“The H&M global human resources head and the transformation officer arrived in the country and agreed to work with the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, and ensure that [the] South African management team and staff fully understand the complexity of race relations and racism in the country. We are mindful that had the EFF not done what they did, H&M would never have agreed to meet with the ARNSA,” Balton said.
What’s more, H&M will be focusing on South African businesses, using manufacturers from that country as well as including South African furniture and other material in its stores.
It’s good to see a company making positive changes and acknowledging their mistakes. Hopefully other companies can follow their lead.