Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 20 September 2019

Forever 21 apologises for using white model to advertise Black Panther jumper

The jumper featured the famous film slogan 'Wakanda forever'

Forever 21 has apologised after using a white model to advertise a Black Panther jumper (Disney via AP)
Forever 21 has apologised after using a white model to advertise a Black Panther jumper (Disney via AP)

High street clothing store Forever 21 has issued an apology for using a white model to advertise a Black Panther-themed jumper.

The Marvel film, which became the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time when it was released earlier this year, features a 90 per cent black cast and has been hailed as ground-breaking for black culture.

And despite Forever 21 regularly using black models, it chose a white male to advertise its “Wakanda Forever” sweatshirt.

After sharing the image online, the brand received huge backlash from angry Black Panther fans.

One Twitter user wrote: “How tone deaf do you have to be to choose this model for that sweater? Do better white people!”

“Wakanda nonsense is this!? @Forever21”, wrote another.

After an influx of comments, the brand deleted the tweet and has since issued an apology.

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

The controversy comes in the same week that Black Panther received its first Oscar nod. The film made the shortlist in four of the nine categories released so far; Make Up and Hairstyling; Music (Original Score); Music (Original Song); and Visual Effects.

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Read more:

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Wakanda forever: the Black Panther effect in travel searches

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This is not the first time in recent months that a brand has come under fire for their marketing tactics. HM was lambasted for using a black boy to model a sweatshirt featuring the slogan ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’, and just last week, Prada issued an apology for selling monkey figures deemed to have racist connotations.

Forever 21, which has stores across the UAE, is still selling the jumper, but has removed the images of the model wearing it.

Updated: December 19, 2018 04:53 PM

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