All Articles Tagged "controversy"
Clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch has been the subject of salacious news headlines in the past. Now the retailer is caught in a maelstrom of gossip again as one of its brand managers made it known that their clothes are not made to be worn by just anyone. “Abercrombie & Fitch doesn’t want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing. Only people of a certain stature are able to purchase and wear the company name”, the manager stated.
In response to the controversy, company CEO Greg Karber released a statement, available on Clutch:
“I sincerely regret that my choice of words was interpreted in a manner that has caused offence. A&F is an aspirational brand that, like most specialty apparel brands, targets its marketing at a particular segment of customers. However, we care about the broader communities in which we operate and are strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. We hire good people who share these values. We are completely opposed to any discrimination, bullying, derogatory characterisations or other anti-social behaviour based on race, gender, body type or other individual characteristics.”
For some, the statement isn’t enough. Writer Greg Karber created a campaign called @FitchThe Homeles that declares “Let’s rebrand A&F together.” If you have any unwanted clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch, you can donate to this cause, which will then provide the clothes to the homeless.
Given this most recent dust up, comments Jeffries made in a 2006 interview for an article on Salon seem prescient. At the time he said, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”
Do you shop at A&F?
I’m Not Going To Desert Him Because Of A Mistake: John Legend Explains Why He Kept Rick Ross On His New Single
John Legend is gearing up for the release of his new album, “Love in the Future,” next month, and if you haven’t heard the leading single “Who Do We Think We Are,” you are definitely missing out. The soulful slow jam brings all types of sexay — much like the sensual video that accompanies it — and thankfully for the Springfield, OH, singer it didn’t bring controversy despite the feature rapper on the track, Rick Ross.
Madame Noire got a chance to chat with John Legend today and we asked him whether he considered removing Rozay from his new track in light of his rape lyric controversy on U.O.E.N.O and he told us plainly, “no.”
“The track was already out when that controversy happened,” John told us. “It was already done, released to radio, and we had already shot the video. Plus I felt like I wasn’t going to completely drop somebody I had been working with for years because they made a mistake. We’ve done a lot of great work together and he did make a mistake — he effed up — and he rightfully got criticized for it, but I’m not going to desert him completely because of that.”
John and Ross do have a rather long history together. John Legend appeared on Ricky’s track “Magnificent” off of his “Deeper Than Rap” album in 2009, and he was also featured on “Rich Forever” on Ross’s mixtape of the same name. Apparently the two might strike magic again this time around, if people are still tolerating Ross after his slip-up.
In other John Legend news, the singer told us he and fiancée Chrissy Teigan have set a date for their big day and they will be jumping the broom this year! John told us of the upcoming wedding ceremony:
“It will be this year. We’re not really discussing a date or location any further, but we do know when and where and it will be this year.”
Although we know the pair likes to keep the details of their relationship under wraps, we did ask the Grammy-nominated artist if he and his wife-to-be would ever consider doing a reality TV show. Thankfully, that answer was a “no” as well.
“We get presented with that all the time, but I just feel like that’s not for us,” he said.” Some people do fine with it, but it’s hard enough to be in a relationship in general. There are always challenge, but to live out those challenges on television every day I think is unnecessary and we’re going to stay out of that.
Smart move on their part.
Check out the video for John’s new single “Who Do We Think We Are” below, if you haven’t seen it yet. What do you think?
Where in the world are the Grandmaster Flashes of today? You know the rappers who told a story that many folk could relate to. Nowadays hip has hopped its way into the bowels of shame. No, I’m not talking the Talib Kweli’s of the world either, I’m talking mainstream rappers whose controversial rhymes are landing them in hot waters, mainly because of heavily misogynistic-laced lyrics. Some have offered apologies to the public, while others would rather snub their nose at us than muster up an “I’m sorry.” It truly is a jungle out there for some of these rappers, and it makes one wonder if they’ll keep from going under. Ah-huh-huh, huh, huh.
Misogynist rap lyrics are nothing new. But last week Rick Ross discovered the suggestion that he spike a woman’s champagne before having sex with her without her knowledge was a step too far. After radio stations banned his song, the rapper took to airwaves to plead his case.
The rapper’s apology wasn’t enough for some. (It was pretty terrible.) Protest group UltraViolet delivered 72,000-plus signatures to Reebok’s flagship store demanding they back away from their endorsement deal with Ross. The brand, who Ross name-dropped just a few beats before the lyrics in question, has remained silent on the issue. But, should brands be called in to play the role of morality police, making sure the artists who make their products cool stay on their best behavior?
Rewarding & Punishing Bad Behavior
Brands have distanced themselves from artists for bad behavior or questionable values before. T.I. lost his deal with Axe body spray after going to jail for violating probation in 2010. Chris Brown was dropped from Doublemint after his infamous Grammy night brawl with Rihanna. Pepsi cut ties with Madonna and later Ludacris when they didn’t agree with the images portrayed in their music.
When brands align themselves with artists like Rick Ross, they know what they’re getting themselves into. Ross made himself rich masquerading as a drug lord with murderous tendencies. Ross’ lyrics are horrible, but Reebok would come off a little hypocritical asking their “gangster” spokesperson to tone it down. (“We like you coke dangerous, but not date rape dangerous.”)
Companies, especially juggernauts like Reebok, don’t choose brand ambassadors haphazardly. They strategically choose public personas whose images are in line with their brand, and the lifestyle they want to sell.
Why Do Good Brands Like Bad Boys?
Cortez Bryant, co-founder of management firm handling Lil Wayne, a rapper who has also come under scrutiny for his lyrics, says that companies are willing to take a risk on artists who capture the attention of their target demographics, even when their track record is questionable. “You know, in the previous years we’ve had hard times, but people ‘get it’ for [his] brand,” he said of Wayne’s partnership with Mountain Dew. “It just seemed like where they were going with their brand, which is all about diversity and crossing barriers, is the same place we want to go.”
Would companies like Reebok dropping artists like Rick Ross make other artists rethink their lyrical content? Maybe. Hitting a person in their wallet is usually an effective way to get them to change their ways. But, at the end of the day, it isn’t Reebok’s job to change Ross.
Supplying The Demand
If Ross is selling a lifestyle the Reebok consumer wants to attain, the brand has a successful partnership. Unless their alliance with the rapper impacts their relationships with their other customers, say active women, the brand has no reason to walk away from him. Let’s be real. Ross’ controversy, like countless other rap lyric scandals will most likely fade from the news cycle, his fan base unbothered. If Reebok did drop his contract, he’d just find another brand to align with.
Brands can’t be relied on to influence artists. The more effective approach for those looking to curtail offensive messages against women may be to look at why personas like Ross and the lifestyle of drug-fueled chauvinistic fantasies he promotes are so attractive to some consumers. After all, brands and enterprising artists like Ross will always and only align themselves with what sells.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Everyone loves to hate on celebrities! After all, how else are we going to feel better about ourselves when we make mistakes if we don’t see examples of others making mistakes that are ten times worse? Well, guess what? Sometimes it starts to get a little repetitive constantly ragging on the same celebrities, especially when the situation might not be as bad as it seems. Let’s have a look at some celebrities who deserve a break…not all the time, but at least sometimes…
It seems like everyone always wants to blame Bobby Brown for introducing Whitney Houston to drugs, but now that it has officially been revealed that it was Whitney’s brother who introduced her, it’s time to cut him some slack. Don’t take this the wrong way, yes he did do a lot to Whitney in their tumultuous 14-year marriage, but it’s time to acknowledge that he is not the one primarily responsible for her drug addiction. Bobby Brown was indeed telling the truth when he claimed he never introduced Whitney to drugs.
As If Their Aren’t Enough Airline Fees, Economists Encourage Officials To Make Heavy Passengers ‘Pay What You Weigh’
Have you been to the doctor’s lately and ordered to lose some pounds after being diagnosed as “obese”? Well there’s a high chance that the shame you may have felt facing your doctor will remain while facing airline officials. According to Reuters, a Norwegian economist suggests that obese passengers should pay more to fly on a “pay what you weigh” basis. Imagine going to the airport and paying more for both overweight luggage and being overweight yourself! This “pay as you weight” price point in airports, if implemented, could go one of three different ways: charging passengers based on both the weight of their luggage and themselves, where a lighter passenger would pay half of what a heavier person would; a fixed base rate where the heavier passenger would be charged extra than a lighter person, resulting in all different types of prices per passenger, and a regular charge for the average person where either a discount or extra charge would be given to those of lighter or heavier body weights.
This controversial plan poses many different social questions. Are we, as a society, rewarding those who are more slim and fit, some whom may have eating disorders or high metabolisms, with the option of not having to pay as much to fly? Are we saying that it’s OK to “fat shame”? Is this an extreme way of telling people to lose weight? Are we encouraging unhealthy ways for people to lose weight in order to avoid being charged high amounts of money to enjoy ourselves or fly for business?
If airlines were to charge passengers to board planes, how would they, and passengers, benefit? Well, Bharat Bhatta, an associate professor at Sogn og Fjordane University College, declared that if passengers lose weight, fares would be reduced and these passengers would gain net benefits in savings. Also, a plane of a certain weight and model would be able to hold more (lightweight) passengers and the use of costly fuel would be reduced, proving to be a positive boon for airlines. But, let’s keep it real: we are told that our weight doesn’t matter, reading magazine articles where actresses and TV personalities say, “It’s only it’s only a number on the scale… as long as I’m healthy…”, and now we may have to always think about our weight from the time of our arrival until our departure. The fight never stops there for most people, so how will this possible airline rule affect those who are dieting or the lucky ones who never think about their weight? Only time will tell.
Do you think this is unfair or do you see this as some extreme, yet acceptable way to get obese people to lose weight? Do you think that it would only be a matter of time before the airlines would implement a plan of this nature? Sound off!
“I Mean…His Music Still Hot”: Chris Brown Discusses Drake Drama, Tupac And People Testing His Patience On Purpose
Chris Brown has been out and about lately in an effort to promote his upcoming release, X, which will be released in the late summer. However, his lead single, “Fine China” will drop on April 1. While talking about the music, Brown has also been discussing Rihanna and the drama that surrounds his life. He continued to do just that when visiting Big Boy’s Neighborhood today. He opened up about trying to “coexist” in this music industry with arch-nemesis (kidding!) Drake, his love for Tupac, people testing his patience, and how past depression after the infamous domestic violence incident between him and Rihanna in 2009 and the backlash he received for years helped shape him into a better man.
“Oh yeah, people can coexist in the music industry.
It’s more me being real saying what I gotta say. I ain’t out here trying to go at him, I ain’t got ni**as–I aint got people after him. We just chillin’. I have my differences and he has his. His music still hot!”
On whether the female DJ who played “Started From The Bottom” in the club (when he said “F**k Drake!” on the microphone), and other people in general are trying to test his patience:
“I be chillin. I would look like the corniest dude ever if I sat up there and got mad every time I heard his records. He gone hear me, I’m gone hear him…I’m not going to put myself in a situation for anything to mess up my career. Focus on what it is and focus on the music.
It was funny, I think the girl tweeted and said, “OMG, he called me a girl DJ. Yes, I said it’s awesome we have a lady DJ in here. I said that’s amazing. I don’t know how that was sexist or you take offense to that. But it’s always a target or you feel like it’s a target. Also, it’s also me too. It’s the choices I make and it’s also me having to be able not to put myself in those surrounding or in those situations. It’s just a learning process.”
On doing a better job of keeping his relationship with Rihanna out of the public eye:
“It also has a lot to do with how much we’re in the public eye or how accessible we are. Mystery is key. That’s why half the time I don’t get on my Twitter, I don’t even have an Instagram anymore. The mystery is in the music and in the magic. Whatever my talent is I want people to focus on that so I can be able to do my personal stuff without people having to KNOW, know.
His appreciation of Tupac:
“I just identify with a young black male who deals with trials and tribulations but who can express his art through his poetry. I’m passionate so I can identify with that. Everything I do is passionate, I wear my heart on my sleeve…I can identify with how Tupac kind of had that in him.”
On whether dealing with the animosity towards him after the domestic violence episode in 2009:
“I was going through early stages of depression. I prayed on it, I stayed humble and stuck with all the people I grew up with. Went back to being Christopher instead of Chris Brown…it happened when I was 18, so 19 is the year everybody was like ‘We’re not playing his music, we don’t really like him. It’s a no all the time!’ For a 19-year-old young man it’s kind of hard not being able to accept people not liking you when they loved you for whatever. It was kind of hard, even friends not talking to you, friends in the industry talking bad about you, but I think it’s a learning step for me. I wouldn’t even take it back. I wouldn’t change it for the world. What I went through and what I’m going through now in life is making me a better person.”
Check out both parts of his interview on the next page!
Sometimes you really have to wonder what people are thinking when they do things that are so obviously wrong wrong wrong.
Ford has issued an apology for ads that went public in India for its Figo line of cars; ads that depict women bound and gagged in the trunk of the cars. The company’s ad agency in the region, JWT India, joined in the apology. The ads have since been taken down, but the Internet has a long memory.
In one of the three illustrated ads (below), Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appears to be waving from the driver’s seat above the heads of three woman who are tied up in the trunk behind him. (Berlusconi has been embroiled in charges of illicit relations with underage girls and is known for his “bunga bunga” parties.) In another it looks like Paris Hilton is kidnapping the Kardashian sisters (image above). The caption is “Leave your worries behind with Figo’s extra-large boot,” boot being the British word for a car’s trunk. In a third ad, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher has three of his competitors in the trunk.
The ads were never meant to see the light of day, according to The Wall Street Journal’s India Real Time blog. “It was not intended for publication, but circulated widely after it was uploaded on an industry website by JWT employees. This was done without their company’s or Ford’s authorization,” the blog writes.
These ads have appeared at a time when India is strengthening laws against sexual assault against women in the wake of a brutal attack that caused the death of a young woman in that country.
The Huffington Post has a comment from WPP, JWT India’s parent company, saying, “We deeply regret the publishing of posters that were distasteful and contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within WPP Group.”
“This was the result of individuals acting without proper oversight and appropriate actions have been taken within the agency where they work to deal with the situation,” the statement continues.
In a statement to the Journal, Ford says the ads are “the posters are contrary to the standards of professionalism and decency within Ford and our agency partners.”
Twitter lit up with criticism of the ads, and rightfully so. We understand the ads weren’t meant for publication, but the question is why they were created in the first place. Where in the world would this be appropriate?
You know how some argue that people who swear lack the vocabulary necessary to have an intelligent conversation? I’m starting to think comedians who rely solely on racial epithets to cause controversy lack the comedic talent to garner that same attention otherwise.
Lisa Lampanelli the same comic — term used loosely – who famously — term used loosely again — commented on Larry the Cable Guy’s catch phrase “Git R Done, during a 2009 roast,” saying ”You’ve beaten that concept so hard it’s now dating Chris Brown,” again has people’s PC panties all in a bunch, and for good reason in my opinion. Two days ago, she tweeted the above photo with the caption:
(Oh and FYI, the asterisks are ours, she shamelessly spelled the n-word out)
I don’t know much about Lampanelli outside of her routine comedic controversies that always seem to involve black people for some reason and, truthfully, I don’t have much desire to. I honestly wouldn’t care if Lampanelli really did look at all black people like n*gg*rs, in fact I’d probably prefer that she was a 51-year-old Connecticut-bred racist. See racists, I can deal with. What bothers me here is Lampanelli isn’t talking about black people at all, she’s referring to a white girl of all people, and asserting her white privilege to refuse to be banned from using the n-word like all those other n-words, I mean black people do. You mean we’re back on the rules of the n-word debate again? Yup, I’m taking it back there.
Firstly, though, I should explain that I’m sure all that didn’t go through Lampanelli’s head when she captioned this pic two days ago — evidence of white privilege itself — I’m quite certain, disappointingly so, that at 50-plus she still thought being able to type the n-word and post it on social media was cool like a 13-year-old smoking a cigarette for the first time. But her refusal to take the caption down and the boastful nature of her Twitter timeline as it relates to the controversy that has erupted as a result screams, “now I’m even more cool because black people and socially conscious whites who otherwise wouldn’t care that I was breathing are now googling my name, go me!”
I guess — not. The only thing funny about Lampanelli’s move is that she thinks she’s winning, when in reality her name will soon fall to the bottom of Google’s analytics very shortly and once again no one will care about her or her n*gg* whom she enthralled in this mess with her. And considering the drama that has already plagued “Girls” and their lack of diversity, Dunham might want to reconsider who she associates herself with. But then again maybe not, after all in the infamous words of Jen the Pen, she’s white and it will get done — it possibly being the Golden Globe she won just a few weeks ago.
You could say why even dignify Lampanelli with a response, and I would half agree with you there. Except I feel it’s only right to spread the message of just how much her antics prove she’s really losing, that is before she fades into obscurity once again and another white person who wants to be down — or try to come up — goes the “lets offend an entire race of people to gain fame route again.” Honestly guys — and gals — it’s played out.
The Super Bowl is more than a football game. During commercial breaks and on YouTube, companies are playing a Super Bowl of their own, competing to capture the world’s attention without embarrassing themselves. Any Real Housewives Of Atlanta fan can tell you how difficult that game is to master.
First possession of 2013 goes to Volkswagen. If you haven’t seen their ad featuring a proud Minnesotan talking like he works weekend shifts at the Jerk Pit, you clearly don’t work in a cubicle. Catch up, so you can engage in one of America’s favorite pastimes, a round of “Is That Racist?”
Does it matter that 100 Jamaicans are okay with the ad? Would it make it better if White Jamaicans existed? Do they exist? (FYI, they’re 3.2 percent of the country’s population. Yes, I Google’d and YouTube’d it. I was intrigued.) None of this really means anything. Some people find the commercial offensive. They may or may not be Jamaican.
Volkswagen knows their happy little commercial has a little edge to it. Edgy enough to talk to 100 Jamaicans. And make a back up ad. But standing out this time of year sometimes requires taking a little more risk. Success is determined by a simple premise: If the controversy outshines the product, you lose.
When the controversy puts an ad at the top of the news hour across the country, and the world collectively says, “Oh, that’s not so bad.” Companies like Volkswagen win. Bonus points if a few people say, “I love this ad” or “That’s a nice car he was driving.”
Here are a few attempts from Super Bowls past where companies have pushed the envelope to varying degrees, with varying levels of success. Is it a touchdown, or did they fumble the advertising budget?