H&M in hot water after ad featuring young black model with 'messy' hair is deemed 'disrespectful'
H&M is in hot water after a new advertisement of theirs shows children with messy hair.
A young African American girl was seen in one of the photos from the ad donning a floral printed sweatshirt with her natural hair pulled into a ponytail, Forbes reports.
However, the campaign for H&M's clothing line for kids also had other children with messy hairstyles as part of the theme.
While photos of the young girl emerged on social media last Thursday, celebrity hairstylist Vernon François recently called out the clothing giant on the controversy.
Admitting that he did not have all the facts nor had he seen a statement from H&M, François wrote on Instagram that it was "essential" to have a conversation about the photo.
"This post is just an assessment based on all my years of seeing 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, adding that his "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."
The hairstylist also noted that the photograph had most likely been "seen and APPROVED by countless 'professionals'."
"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," François said.
Following the criticism, several users on social media slammed the clothing line for its "disrespectful" advertisement.
"Apparently @hm thinks allowing this African American young lady’s hair to look like this in their AD is acceptable! I find this disrespectful! This is a clear example that there are no people of color working at the higher level because they would have not allowed this," one person tweeted.
"Excuse me @hm I just want to talk, because natural is fine but not doing her hair properly/at all is not..." a second wrote.
"H&M AT IT AGAIN They wrong for that. Where the child mama? I hope she sues them for public humiliation, defamation of character, and discrimination. They could [have] had a stylist touch this child's hair. Pathetic," another person wrote.
Several commenters said the child's hair could have been styled better, while others pointed out all the children had messy hair and that observers had selectively picked out the African American girl to "ridicule" the brand.
"It's very telling that you lot plucked the black girl out to ridicule her hair when all the other kids on the H&M site look like this. Says a lot about you tbh," one person wrote.
A second user wrote that the photo is "actually the best representation of black children. Good job @hm. She looks like the average black child. Her hair is as natural as it can be and I love it. Edges & Melanin are untouched and I am here for it."
"All I hear black people complain about is 'embracing them natural selves' this is natural," another user commented. "Stop picking and choosing what’s considered appropriate hair for African Americans just because she’s posted on H&M. Either embrace all-natural or stop complaining when others don’t!"
Following the uproar, H&M tweeted a statement explaining why the kids' campaign featured young girls with messy hairdos.
"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 statement read. "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."