Earlier this week, an H&M online catalog photo of a little boy in a hoodie caused controversy when people interpreted the photo as racist.
Pop music mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs even stepped in to offer the boy a $1 million contract to model with his clothing company, Sean John, according to BET.
But now the boy’s mother has spoken up and told people that they’re making a big deal over nothing.
As Dearly previously reported, the photo in the H&M catalogue featured a black boy wearing a hoodie that said “coolest monkey in the jungle” on the front.
People were pointing fingers at the company, saying that having a black child wearing an article of clothing containing the word “monkey” is a reference to a racial slur.
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) January 8, 2018
Multiple celebrities have expressed outrage over the image. Lebron James has voiced his disapproval and the rapper The Weeknd, who had a line with the retailer, said that he would cut ties with the company.
James wrote on his Instagram account, in part:
We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!
Now, the boy’s mom, Terry Mango, has spoken up.
According to multiple sources, including the New York Post, Mango, who’s from Nigeria but lives in Sweden, wrote in a series of now-deleted Facebook posts that she doesn’t agree with people taking issue with the photos. She believed it was just part of his modeling job.
That’s my son… I’ve been to all photo shoots and this was not an exception. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this … This is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modeled … stop crying Wolf all the time, unnecessary issue.
If I bought that [hoodie] and put it on him and posted it on my pages, would that make me racist? I get people’s opinion, but they are not mine.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion about this … I really don’t understand but not because I am choosing not to, but because it’s not my way of thinking, sorry.
Mango also posted about the controversy on Twitter, challenging opposing views on the matter:
With all due respect, my views are simple “A black child is simply a child, and a monkey is simply an animal. Racists and those traumatized by racism believe differently, I am neither.” I am not interested is sensationalizing this issue further.
So far, neither Combs nor the other celebrities have commented on Mango's position on the controversy. It will be interesting to see if Combs's offer is still good and if it is — if Mango would consider it for her son.
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