Jesse Williams Tears Into H&M’s Racist & “Pathetic” Monkey Hoodie

On Monday (Jan. 8), H&M  became the topic of discussion, and not for having a trendy, new clothing line. Instead, many people were outraged over a lookbook image, which depicted an African-American boy donning a hoodie with the title, “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” across the front. The Internet was flooded with comments, accusing the brand of racism and carelessness. While H&M has since issued an apology regarding the matter, Jesse Williams has some final thoughts regarding the so-called “mistake.”

The Grey’s Anatomy star hopped on Instagram on Tuesday (Jan. 9), to express his issue with H&M and the campaign’s styling. “Just getting back from vacation to see this pathetic excuse for corporate behavior and [ir]responsibility,” Williams wrote. “Last year I chose to do a holiday campaign w/ @HM specifically because it centered women and girls as imaginative doers; because it centered an intelligent dark skinned girl w/ natural hair as protagonist; because it featured a loving, creative, working class black family. And then, here they come with this bulls**t…” He’s referring to the 2017 holiday campaign he featured in alongside Nicki Minaj.

READ: H&M Removes Controversial Ad Of Black Boy Wearing “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” Hoodie

While he was upset by the retail company’s actions, he suggested it stems from a larger, systemic issue. “These offenses are more about the makeup of the rooms where they happen, than the items they produce. There is a concentration of power, committed to exclusion, whether casual, accidental or conscious,” he explained. “The collateral damage of this corporate, colonial mind-state occurs several times a year, and it’s predictable the world over, like the seasons, so when I laid eyes on it, my initial reaction was neither shock nor anger. It was boredom.”

He continued: “This old world, white power, failing-upward culture of reckless trampling that repeatedly exposes itself, is boring already. Aren’t you bored? Aren’t you bored watching mediocre, incurious & consequently destructive people waltz through your life, shepherded into positions of power, further choking off opportunity for the actually talented, curious & decent among us?”

READ: The Weeknd Parts Ways With H&M Amid Racial Controversy

Finally, he sent a message to consumers, suggesting they find brands and companies that support and uplift their respective communities instead of “abuse” them. “It’s a truly desperate and bizarre ritual we’ve become conditioned to,” he added. “A ritual that WILL go the way of the confederate flag: A relic of a destructive juvenile ‘civilization,’ disguised as harmless tradition. End relationships with your abusers. Make room for yourselves.”

Williams is just the latest star to speak out. A number of influencers within the hip-hop community, including Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Chris Brown, T.I., Pusha T, and more have also voiced their frustrations. The Weeknd, even went so far as to sever all business ties with the company.

Check out Jesse Williams’ comment on Instagram below.

Just getting back from vacation to see this pathetic excuse for corporate behavior and [ir]responsibility. Last year I chose to do a holiday campaign w/ @HM specifically because it centered women and girls as imaginative doers; because it centered an intelligent dark skinned girl w/ natural hair as protagonist; because it featured a loving, creative, working class black family. And then, here they come with this bullshit… These offenses are more about the makeup of the rooms where they happen, than the items they produce. There is a concentration of power, committed to exclusion, whether casual, accidental or conscious. The collateral damage of this corporate, colonial mind-state occurs several times a year, and it’s predictable the world over, like the seasons, so when i laid eyes on it, my initial reaction was neither shock nor anger. It was boredom. This old world, white power, failing-upward culture of reckless trampling that repeatedly exposes itself, is boring already. Aren’t you bored? Aren’t you bored watching mediocre, incurious & consequently destructive people waltz through your life, shepherded into positions of power, further choking off opportunity for the actually talented, curious & decent among us? It’s a truly desperate and bizarre ritual we’ve become conditioned to. A ritual that WILL go the way of the confederate flag: A relic of a destructive juvenile “civilization,” disguised as harmless tradition. End relationships with your abusers. Make room for yourselves. #BuyBlack‬ #BuyResponsibly #Make

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