It seems to be the season where major brands and companies think it is okay to put out questionably insensitive marketing ads, especially when it comes to the African American market.

H&M is the latest company to put out an ad that has set fire in social media world. On a H&M UK site, they decided to put a young black boy in a hoodie that pictured a monkey with words that read: Coolest Monkey in The Jungle”.

The image definitely rubbed many the wrong way. Of course, the reason for the ad could have just been ignorance and bad judgement, but it could've been intentional to some extent as well. We probably won’t ever really know the real truth.

However, two observations can be made from this story:


Let's say there’s a good chance that the move to put the boy on the site in the ‘monkey’ hoodie was done with no ill intent because kids do like monkeys right? But there’s a known negative history of black people being compared to monkeys by white people. The fact that this association is still triggering emotional reactions from the african American community shows how much our history still pretty much impact us today. It also shows how much people outside of the black community are pretty disconnected from it.


The lack of black representation within large companies and big brands is something we are constantly reminded of, especially when things like this occur. Maybe there wasn't anyone in the room to say “Hey, this could be super offensive?" If H&M’s “decision making room” was full of white millennials, there’s a strong chance no one saw anything wrong.

Regardless, the ad definitely has received backlash and if we don't get anything else from this story, we should have a better understanding of why representation matters and why we need more black-owned brands and companies.