Black Twitter Is Not Pleased With This Website Using White Models For “Black Girl Magic” T-Shirts
I guess the message doesn’t matter as long as someone’s making money? Black Twitter didn’t take it too kindly when popular on-line merchandiser, Zazzle used white models to display it’s collection of “Black Girl Magic” t-shirts. Yahoo Style reports that although she didn’t point out the website by name (her followers where quick to point out the culprit), Youtuber Jackie Aina was the first to point out the conflicting imagery:
Zazzle.com is a website that allows users to customize their own merchandise including housewares, electronics and personal apparel. The products are made available through an enormous e-commerce platform and Aina points out that this is the kind of problem that can occur when a site uses a computerized and customizable system that uses a few stock models for a wide range of messaged merchandise. In an official statement to Yahoo Style, the retailer confirms that the controversy isn’t a result of any kind of personal insult and is simply the fault of how their system is set up:
“Each designer is shown a series of pre-posed randomized model shots upon which their design is placed. It’s always possible that gender, race and other attributes of the model do not match up to the specifics of the design, given the ratio of our millions of designs to the 100 or so t-shirt styles we offer. At Zazzle, we’re committed to diversity and are working on increasing the diversity of the pre-posed model shots and the t-shirt range itself.”
While that’s a valid explanation of how something like this could happen, Black Twitter still wasn’t the least bit accepting or understanding with many using GIFs to tell the website to simply, “Do better.”
Furthermore, a search of “Black Girl Magic” (a concept and movement created in 2013 by CaShawn Thompson to celebrate the beauty and resilience of black women) returns a variety or merchandise including everything from t-shirts to buttons with phrases such as “Unapologetically Black” and “Melanin and Mascara” all modeled by anyone but people of color. While as a community I’m sure we can respect that black pride is something that can be appreciated by all races, when it comes to representation, Zazzle is seriously lacking diversity which makes one question, “Why not just hire black models?” as stated by Twitter user “d_alesheaMUA”. She makes a good point. It makes you wonder, all of this apparel and none of these designs happened to land on a model of color? Zazzle may have a bigger problem than their display of “Black Girl Magic” on its hands. In the meantime, from a marketing and profit point of view alone, Zazzle might want to put out an open call for models with melanin and highlight diversity. I might be more inclined to buy the “Mocha Princess Sleeveless Shirt” if Brad from Beta Theta Pi wasn’t rocking it.