Amazon is being criticized for carrying swimsuits with slogans and sayings associated with the African-American community—but the model wearing them is white.
Dear @amazon this is a misrepresentation of an African American woman please update your site with a model with the correct melonin, please and thank you @KamalaHarris @BarackObama @CoryBooker @50cent @tylerperry @alroker @fox5ny @CBS @NBCNews @SteveHarveyFM @NBCNews @CNN pic.twitter.com/7Fh6B0lb2p— DreamSeekersTalentMgmt (@SeekersMgmt) July 19, 2019
Twitter user @Seekersmgmt noticed that the use of the stock image by a retailer called ZBBRDD, and shared a screenshot along with their complaint. In this image, the white model is wearing a suit that reads, “hella BLACK, hella PROUD.”
“Dear @amazon this is a misrepresentation of an African American woman please update your site with a model with the correct melonin [sic], please and thank you,” they wrote, also tagging Kamala Harris and Barack Obama. It’s hard to tell if that’s meant to be a joke, because this is Twitter, but it’s funny to imagine either one of those people taking time for this issue.
The swimsuit costs $9.90, and there are a number of other inappropriate bathing suits being sold by the same company:
There are a lot of shady, cheap retailers on Amazon, and it seems as though ZBBRDD is one of them. It’s unclear who they’re owned by or where they’re based, but it’s very clear that they don’t have anyone tuned into cultural sensitivity issues. Anyone worth their paycheck would look at these and choose a different stock model.
The company also sells suits with slogans like “Yummy mummy” on them, using the same stock photo. Presumably, the person in charge of Photoshop just kept on going without thinking, “Hmm, is this okay?”
This mistake is happening in a time when lots of retailers are getting in trouble for a lack of foresight and racial sensitivity, and they’re usually well-known brands. In October 2017, Dove removed and ad where a black woman removes her t-shirt to show a white woman underneath. In January, H&M featured an image of a black child wearing a shirt that read “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
This swimsuit debacle is really piling on and people aren’t happy. The suits have been getting some bad reviews online:
Nice of Sara Jackson to consider the model in all this. Probably a bit of a surprise for her, indeed! Amazon hasn’t responded directly, but the “Hella Black” bathing suit seems to have disappeared. It was probably being hit hardest by bad reviews, because it hella sucks.