Black Face or Culture Vultures?

Over the past few months, luxury brands such as Prada, Gucci, and Moncler have been accused of displaying blackface in many of their designs. Unbeknownst to the masses, these luxury brands have also been jacking such ideas from the Patrick Kelly Brand.

“Who was Patrick Kelly?” Kelly was a celebrated fashion designer and the first African American designer to have a luxury international fashion house. He was also the first American to be inducted into the Chambre Syndicale . Kelly was a creative who used his race and culture in a way that positively exploited both, unlike any other designer.

Many of the designs displayed by Gucci, Prada, and Moncler are carbon copies of Patrick Kelly’s work. Is black face the only issue here? Considering Kelly death in 1990, it seems that such luxury brands are exploiting African American culture in a negative light with hopes of receiving praise and acceptance from the black community as Kelly did. Unfortunately, Kelly’s marketing regime and ideas are not bringing success for the culture vultures many have loved and supported throughout recent years.

Gucci made the wise decision to pull the recent released 'Balaclava Knit Top Black’ from stores; apologizing to shoppers over widespread complaints the apparel resembled “black face” make-up. Many celebrities have already made the decision to no longer support the brand.

-DJ Jazzy T & Natasia Harris

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