Clothing brand Forever21 under fire for using white model to sell 'Black Panther' sweater

Claudine Varela
Dec 26, 2018
05:45 P.M.

Forever 21 has just taken down its Christmas sweater ad after fans slammed it for using a white model to fashion a Wakanda-inspired sweater.


Forever 21 may forever regret their recent decision to use a white model to promote a “Black Panther” sweater. Twitter is on fire slamming the clothing brand for the seemingly offensive ad.


Fans are raging over what is now described as an ugly Christmas sweater by Forever 21.

The clothing brand showcased its new “Wakanda Forever” sweater but failed to see the irony of the ad they used to promote it.


A white model was sporting the sweater whose theme is notably black-oriented.

The film “Black Panther” is widely known for its success in pioneering a black superhero after a ton of white superheroes that came before it.

It also highlights African culture and celebrates Blackness. For a white man to model a sweater inspired by the film, it is a slap in the face to the Black community.



Thus, Twitter was bursting with unhappy tweets condemning the fashion brand. Just take a look at these series of clap-backs.

“A Wakanda Forever Fair Isle Knit sweater modeled by an Eminem lookalike just makes no sense whatsoever, and it’s insulting. @Forever21 is cancelled,”

Another said:


“They got a super pale, blonde, blue-eyed model in a Wakanda Forever sweater… I wanna speak to your advertising department, @Forever21. Someone approved this and thought this was going to work.”

“Hey @Forever21, In What Universe Did You Think It Was Ok To Feature A White Model In Wakanda Gear? Granted, Chances Are You Knew It Wasn't Ok, But Still. As A Former #21Men Brand Specialist For The Company, I'm Highly Offended.”


“Wow Forever 21 is tone deaf af. Colonizers aren't praised in Wakanda. Try again.”



Following the backlash, Forever 21 released a statement apologizing for the oversight.

“Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in anyway.”

The brand also took down the ad from their Twitter account and website. The sweater is currently being featured without a model wearing it.



Since its blockbuster release, “Black Panther” has become an inspiration to a lot of Black people who finally found a superhero they can relate to.


Several people have reportedly used the film’s theme to commemorate special events or moments in their lives.

A bride and groom recently created a “Black Panther”-inspired poster for their wedding. A tattoo artist also delighted a little boy by painting his prosthetic leg with the superhero’s artwork.

It’s unclear what went down at Forever 21 when the decision to use a white model was made.

But hopefully, this incident becomes an example for other brands to think twice before putting something out there.

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