Rachel Dolezal is being slammed on social media for creating her own sweatshirt after H&M drew substantial criticism for an ad featuring a black child wearing a hoodie bearing the message, “Coolest monkey in the jungle.”
Dolezal took to Instagram to debut her “final version” of the frock, which relays a more positive message: “Coolest Prince on the Planet.” Her first version of the sweater, according to journalist Yashar Ali, read, “Coolest Prince in the Hood.”
“Final version. (World just sounded kind of corny, so I changed it to Planet)… Sent to printer’s. Facts: 1) Printed at local woman-of-color-owned shop. 2) Pre-order price is $1 less than cost. 3) I’m doing this for the Cause, so if you don’t like it then do your own thing (& let me know what you’re doing so I can support!) Link in bio. #goodvibesonly #hoodieseason#forthekids,” Dolezal wrote.
Final version. (World just sounded kind of corny, so I changed it to Planet)… Sent to printer’s. Facts: 1) Printed at local woman-of-color-owned shop. 2) Pre-order price is $1 less than cost. 3) I’m doing this for the Cause, so if you don’t like it then do your own thing (& let me know what you’re doing so I can support!) Link in bio. #goodvibesonly #hoodieseason #forthekids ✊??????…
Rachel Dolezal, of all people, trying to co-opt the whole H&M debate is just…..I've had enough. pic.twitter.com/c2zeg6vb7f
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) January 11, 2018
Many commented on her post asking where the proceeds were going to, and accused Dolezal, the white woman infamous for identifying herself as a black person for decades and running a chapter of the NAACP, for trying to profit of H&M’s controversial sweatshirt.
“So you’re trying to profit off of this?? Shameful,” commented one user, while another said, “Where are the proceeds going to?”
“Take a f—ing seat all you’re tryin to do is capitolize [sic] on a sensitive situation by putting your bulls— product out ‘protesting’ the controversy surrounding h&m and what they did to your son,” wrote another user, referring to what Dolezal’s claim that her son has was called a “monkey” when he was in the second grade.
“Are you trying to exploit our pain?” said another.
However, some rushed to Dolezal’s defense. One user wrote, “I guess she could just sit around and b— and moan like 99 percent of everyone else… but instead she has taken initiative to provide a positive response.”
Several reimagined versions of the sweatshirt popped up on social media in the wake of H&M’s gaffe, likely inspiring Dolezal’s version:
Over the past months I was genuinely excited about launching my upcoming line and collaboration with @HM… Unfortunately, after seeing the disturbing image yesterday, my excitement over our global campaign quickly evaporated, and I've decided at this time our partnership needs to end. Whether an oblivious oversight or not, it's truly sad and disturbing that in 2018, something so racially and culturally insensitive could pass by the eyes of so many (stylist, photographer, creative and marketing teams) and be deemed acceptable. I can't allow for my name and brand to be associated with a company that could let this happen. I hope that this situation will serve as the wake up call that H&M and other companies need to get on track and become racially and culturally aware, as well as more diverse at every level.
H&M drew fire for the ad early in the week. Initially, the company reacted by removing the image, ultimately choosing to remove the garment from sale altogether. It then issued an apology: “Our position is simple and unequivocal – we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry.”
Prominent critics of the ad included the musician The Weeknd, who had a partnership with H&M but signaled his intention to cut ties with the company on Monday after being made aware of the ad. NBA player LeBron James and rapper/mogul Sean Combs were also among the high-profile critics of the ad.
Dolezal’s life began to unravel two years ago when a TV reporter asked her, “Are you African-American?” and she turned from the camera and fled. After the incident went viral, her Caucasian parents came forward with photos of her childhood as a freckle-faced blonde and claims that her roots are German and Czech, with traces of Native American ancestry.