A motivational speaker recently launched an online petition against Target after noticing a young white girl on the promotional displays rather than the current Annie star herself, Quvenzhane Wallis, or another young Black girl.
The modern day remake of Annie sparked a lot of buzz when it was revealed that the new film would be swapping out the original white cast with African-Americans.
For many people, it was an important message about trying to boost diversity in Hollywood. So when Target ads for an Annie-inspired clothing line featuring mostly young white girls surfaced in stores across the nation, one motivational speaker took to Change.org to speak up.
L’Sean Rinique Shelton launched the online petition, which has earned thousands of digital signatures since its creation.
Shelton said the in-store displays were simply “disrespectful” and sent a negative message to young Black girls who were inspired by Wallis’s portrayal of Annie.
She said her own daughter saw the ads featuring white girls promoting the Annie line and felt like Target was sending a message that she wasn’t good enough.
“She saw the ad and said to me, ‘That’s not what Annie looks like. How come the new Black Annie isn’t good enough? Does that mean I’m not good enough,’” Shelton told Yahoo.
The petition pointed to the current racial tensions in America as yet another reason that Target should have had more girls of color featured in the promotional displays.
“In the current stench of racism and division amongst Americans, why would Target singlehandedly disrespect Quvenzhane Wallis and add more pain to injury as it relates to race relations?” the petition asked.
The petition added that the displays have a “misleading depiction of the movie.”
“Though the model is quite professional, she does not speak to the relevance of the movie or main character,” the petition said. “When the original Annie came out, everything was about Aileen Quinn or a character/person that emulated her….why not now Target? If you can show it online, show it in ALL of your stores with multiple signage with different girls not one!”
A store rep said that’s exactly what the retail giant did.
“Girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie,” a store rep stated before sharing an image of an African-American model promoting the Annie clothing line.
Shelton refers to the girl as the “one token Black girl” in a campaign filled with young white girls and remained unimpressed with Target’s defense of the in-store displays.