International clothing store H&M has admitted they need help with racism at its South African stores and has hired Black marketing firms to help. According to ‘The Citizen,’ the retail giant agreed to partner with South African marketing companies to address the racism that prompted Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) protests at its shops.
The retail store was under fire in January for showcasing the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” hoodie worn by a Black child in comparison to the one worn by a white child with the phrase that read “Survival Expert”.
H&M received major backlash from social media platforms, deeming the retailer as racist.
Protests by EFF members followed shortly, as they were caught on video trashing H&M shops in South Africa.
Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF), Neeshan Balton, divulged that the international retailer sat down with Anti-Racism Network South Africa (ARNSA) after a letter was written to its headquarters.
Balton explained, “They (H&M) admitted they were wrong and are trying to understand how to undo their mistake. Part of that engagement was because of the EFF demonstration. We had planned a demonstration after the EFF launched their protest, we could not proceed because we couldn’t match their scale.
“Subsequent to that, the H&M global human resources head and the transformation officer arrived in the country and agreed to work with the Institute of Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, and ensure that (the) South African management team and staff fully understand the complexity of race relations and racism in the country. We are mindful that had the EFF not done what they did, H&M would never have agreed to meet with the ARNSA”, Balton said at the launch of Anti-Racism week in Johannesburg, SA reported by “The Citizen”.
H&M has reportedly been working with its South African marketing teams to be more mindful of racial issues.