Prada is coming under fire for using blackface-style imagery in at least one of its New York City storefronts and online. As part of a new holiday marketing campaign, the luxury brand was featuring a black caricature with exaggerated big red lips. Photos of the display brought fierce backlash on social media and prompted the company to get rid of the items.
Chinyere Ezie was walking past a Prada store in downtown Manhattan Thursday when she saw what she described as a “racist and denigrating” caricature being displayed in the front of the store. In a Facebook post, she described “shaking with anger.”
“Today after returning to NYC after a very emotional visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture including an exhibit on blackface, I walked past Prada’s Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery,” she wrote.
“History cannot continue to repeat itself,” she added. “Black America deserves better.”
A spokesperson with Prada Group, Prada’s parent company, told CBS News in a statement Friday that they “abhor racist imagery” and will remove the characters in question — part of the designer’s “Pradamalia” collection. It said they were envisioned as “imaginary creatures” and were not meant to mimic blackface caricatures.