Clothing Brand H&M Responds to Backlash over AD Featuring a Young Black Model with Undone Hair

Celebrity hairstylist Vernon François commented on a recent H&M and the brand responded.

Black actresses and models often struggle to find stylist on photoshoots or film sets who know how to handle the texture of their hair.

Celebrity hairstylist Vernon François, who has been fighting to see the beauty of Black hair recognized for his entire career, posted a photo on Instagram calling out H&M over an featuring a little Black girl with her natural hair pulled back carelessly into a ponytail.

"My heart breaks imagining yet another girl from my community sitting in front of a mirror being ignored by the team around her, left to her own devices because someone didn’t know how to handle her texture." Vernon François

VERNON FRANÇOIS CALLS OUT H&M OVER AD

Vernon admits in his post that he doesn't know the circumstances surrounding the shoot, but that he has seen countless similar examples of Black women getting ignored by the styling team because they couldn't "handle" their hair.

Vernon compared the little girl's appearance to that of other children in the same photoshoot:

"This beautiful young girl’s #kinky hair appears to have had very little to no attention yet all of her counterparts have clearly sat in front of someone who was more than capable of styling other hair textures," he said.

This is not the first time that retail giant H&M has had to deal with fallout with regards to using Black children in ads.

ESSENCE MAGAZINE QUESTIONS H&M

There are several other photos of the same little girl on the H&M site, some with the same scraped back ponytail, others with her hair coaxed out into its natural Afro. Essence Magazine reached out to H&M for answers, and the brand responded.

RETAIL GIANT: "WE AIM FOR A NATURAL LOOK"

According to the retail giant, the young girl got the same treatment as every other model retained by the brand, and was not excluded from care because of her "Black hair."

“We are aware of the comments regarding one of our models for H&M Kids. We truly believe that all kids should be allowed to be kids. The school-aged kids who model for us come to the photo studio in the afternoon after school and we aim for a natural look which reflects that,“ they stated.

MAKING A CHANGE FOR BLACK WOMEN IN THE BEAUTY AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

Vernon does have a point. Many black actresses and models admit that they style their own hair on set or on shoots, carrying around the adequate products, which the stylists often don't have in their supposedly all-inclusive kits.

Hopefully, Vernon's post will call attention to a lack of adequate training given to professionals in the business with regards to Black hair.

H&M POSTS CONTROVERSIAL AD

This is not the first time that retail giant H&M has had to deal with fallout with regards to using Black children in ads.

In 2018, H&M launched an ad showing a little Black boy in a sweatshirt that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”

The outcry was immediate, and H&M removed the ad, took the sweatshirt off the market and apologized.

The brand has hired Ezinne Kwubiri as Head of Inclusion & Diversity, in an attempt to avoid anymore insensitive or offensive contents or products.

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