GAP Kids Apologizes For Questionable Ad, Mother Says Two Girls Are Sisters
Earlier this week, we wrote about the GAP Kids Ad seen and discussed around the Twitterverse. You know, the one that featured the lone Black girl’s head being used as an armrest. The message was particularly troubling as the tagline for the campaign is about “girls who can do anything.”
But it wasn’t just the picture. In the video for the campaign, the Black girl, who we now know is named Lucy Dinknesh, sits silent while the other girls, all White, field questions from Ellen DeGeneres, laughing and joking with her. Dinknesh, on the other hand, is visibly uncomfortable, completely silent and looking off set on several occasions. When the girls are showing off their cirque moves, twirling, flipping, contorting themselves into splits, Dinknesh is only shown in relation to the other girls, being lifted, balancing on someone else, never displaying what she is capable of on her own.
Despite GAP Kids’ intention, the optics of the print ad and the impression the short video leave, cause it to fail miserably. The image of Dinknesh, looking unhappy and disconnected as she’s used as an arm rest, is far from an empowering message for any young Black girl.
Now, not only has the plot thickened. (More on that later.) But first, as a result all of the backlash, GAP Kids has issued an apology.
In a statement to Fortune, GAP spokeswoman Debbie Felix said,
“As a brand with a proud 46 year history of championing diversity and inclusivity, we appreciate the conversation that has taken place and are sorry to anyone we’ve offended.”
They also vowed to remove that image from the campaign and will move forward with another one.
But here is where it gets interesting. These two girls aren’t just strangers who happened to meet for the purposes of this campaign. They’re more than just two girls who perform in the same cirque together. They’re sisters.
Actress Brooke Smith, known for her roles in “Grey’s Anatomy” and perhaps most famously as the kidnapping victim in Silence of the Lambs, is their mother. The White girl, 12-year-old Fanny Grace Lubensky is Smith’s biological daughter. She and her husband, Steve Lubensky, adopted 9-year-old Lucy Dinknesh from Ethiopia in 2008.
During all the uproar over the ad, Smith used her own Twitter page to defend the ad.
Then, after a bit of conversation with several Black women, including Kristen West Savali, from The Root, Smith acknowledged that perhaps GAP Kids should replace it with something else.
Thankfully, that’s exactly what happened.
Personally, I’m happy that this discussion was productive in the sense that maybe a few people learned something about representation and the power of images and GAP Kids ultimately took action.
Does this new information and the response change your original perception of the ad?