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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Golden Globes, Fashion, Protests, and H&M

The news cycles are oh so short these days, so I'm feeling like these thoughts are yesterday's news, but I feel compelled to publish them anyway...

So the Golden Globe Awards took place this past Sunday. I'm not a huge awards show person, (except for a few that I find interesting), but I love seeing the red carpet looks. The unofficial dress code was "all black everything" for the ladies - and men (although they typically wear black anyway) to support the "Time's Up" movement addressing sexual harassment and assault.

Boy, oh boy this whole scandal involving Harvey Weinstein really opened the proverbial can of worms...

I'm a HUGE fan of using clothing and fashion to make a statement, and I appreciate the idea behind the "Golden Globes Blackout." I saw various looks from the red carpet and the leading ladies did a great job of dressing for the occasion and staying on message. I loved Viola Davis, Zoe Kravitz, Issa Rae, Kendall Jenner, MJB and more. (See more looks here) I also noticed a number of instances of bold emerald colored earrings that REALLY looked striking against the black. 

I also dressed for the occasion, donning a black satiny dress with my tulle overlay skirt, that you've seen here and here. I'm not going to talk about the fact that I was all dressed up with nowhere to go, but it's all good. You know I don't need an excuse to get fancy. Here's my look:

So back to the "dress code." Now, when I first heard about this unified form of protest, I was like, "okay, cool." I'm down with solidarity for a good cause. This initiative seemed to get quick and widespread adoption - no questions asked. Then I started thinking about Black Lives Matter, and Colin Kappernick taking a knee - and I thought about the fact that it's okay to talk about sexism and the inequities related to gender, but it's not okay to talk about/raise awareness of the injustices that exist about race...

When Natalie Portman jumped in to help introduce the nominees for "Best Director" at the Golden Globes ceremony, she said, “And here are the all male nominees.” Okay, I get it. Now imagine a black actor/actress saying "And here are all the white nominees." I'll leave that right there.

I've experienced that exact thing in corporate America. During conferences and open discussions, the challenges that women face when it comes to representation, advancement, pay, etc. are fair game. However, when it came to race, typically the only real discussions that took place were among people of color. I'm not going to attempt to unpack that here in this blog post, but I WILL say, it's always easy for the oppressor to deny and turn a blind eye to the realities of the world. And I'm not just talking about racism. I'm talking about all forms of oppression.

Even with everything that's going on in Hollywood (and other sectors) - some noted that there was little mention of this in a serious way, by any of the men who presented at the Golden Globe ceremony. How is that even possible???

And speaking of fashion making statements, let's talk about H&M. If you haven't heard about the controversy, you can google it, and although H&M has issued a few apologies, including this one - I'm not moved. First of all, let me talk about how pissed I am. Not only about the cluelessness and insensitivity of the ad, but I've been a big H&M supporter in the past. This is not their first mishap - there was another incident that I became aware of a couple of years ago, but I decided to let it go.

But now I can't shop there anymore. I've seriously had it with companies making missteps of this nature, and thinking that some carefully-crafted PR statement is the cure-all. Whether or not there is ill-intent behind these types of situations is no longer relevant. Companies, whether based in the United States or not, are multicultural global empires that have diverse customers who keep them in business. With the availability of data and information, H&M, Dove, and all the other companies who have found themselves in the midst of PR nightmares like this, can easily avoid this. Having a diversified base of decision-makers with different points of view wouldn't hurt either.

Knowing who your customers are and how to speak to them is easier than ever. And if companies think it doesn't matter, multicultural communities seriously need to mobilize and make our voices heard. With today's political and social climate, people are on edge. Sensitivities are heightened, and people, like me, are plain old FED UP! I'm typically not the first person to boycott companies, but it's time...

Is boycotting the answer? I don't know.

I heard that Diddy offered the young man who was featured in the H&M ad a million dollar modelling contract. That's awesome. We need more of this. People of color stepping up and supporting one another. Supporting local and black-owned businesses is something we can do to strengthen our community. (I'm speaking specifically about the black community right now.)

I'm sure we can all think of black-owned businesses who we can patronize and support. I'm going to tag the black business owners that I personally know or have patronized to help spread the word - even if it's a tiny gesture. (On Instagram) Here's a link that includes black-owned businesses to support.

I heard that the mother of the young man who was featured in the H&M is not bothered by the ad. I don't know if it's true or not, but I'm bothered by it. I read some of the comments on an internet article about this situation (why did I do that?) and one response said, "If this was a child of any other race, this wouldn't be a big deal." YES! That's exactly the point. Other races don't have the same history that blacks/African Americans have had. There is a racial sensitivity associated with the comparison of blacks and primates that is really ugly. So he/she is absolutely right - and the fact that they're totally missing the point is EXACTLY the problem.

And for to those folks who are rolling their eyes, thinking that black people are always playing the "race card," and always want to make things about race, we're only playing the cards we're dealt, but sadly, it's not a game.

I'm rambling now, so I'll sign off...

I know there are many perspectives on this issue and some folks don't think it's important, but I do...

Let me know where you stand on this. Sign in and post your comments, or check me out on Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you for reading.

Be Fearless. Stay Fashionable. Have Fun!