Photo credit: H

H&M has responded to the fierce backlash over a young Black child model featured on its site who critics believe is rocking a hot mess of a natural hairstyle.

For many Black women across the world wide web, the screenshot of the young girl with her 4C hair uncombed and her edges not laid was certainly a ghastly site to behold. The image of the model went viral on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday, with Black Twitter debating over who was to blame: The parents or H&M?

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Celebrity hairstylist Vernon François shared the photo on Instagram, and noted that he sees “situations like this happen time and time again. And 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.

 

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It’s essential that we have a conversation about this photograph from the @hm_kids campaign. Before I begin, I do not have the facts, nor have I seen any statement by #H&M or the team who worked on this. This post is just an assessment based on all my years of seeing situations like this happen time and time again. And its 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 then capable of styling other hair textures. 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. As if that’s not bad enough…. Prior to this campaign appearing this photograph will have been seen and APPROVED by countless ‘professionals’. Lets say conservatively 50 people. 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. We must do better. Our girls, our young women deserve better. Let this be a moment of learning. #Education is key #wehavetodobetter #vernonfrancois #Ignorance #blackgirlmagic #allhairisgoodhair

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François said his “heart breaks” at seeing “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.”

But H&M is attempting to pump the breaks on the perceived anti-Black woman narrative by noting that the child’s natural and seemingly inappropriately styled hair was just the look they wanted.

“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,” the retail giant said in a statement, per Yahoo.

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A look over the rest of the children featured in the ad might force critics to curb their anger upon noticing, as Jezebel points out, that there is nothing messier about the black girl’s hair than the rest of the children.

One Twitter user noted, “Honestly I was upset after seeing just the black girl.
But then I took my time to check the rest of the kids collection, and they violated every single kid smh.”

This isn’t the first time H&M has been called out for its racially-charged apparel. TheGrio previously reported on the company being slammed for a controversial ad that involved a little Black boy in a sweatshirt that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” H&M removed discontinued the sale of the shirt and issued an apology.