Earlier this month, H&M received a wave of backlash after a photo of a black boy modeling a “coolest monkey in the jungle” hoodie found its way across the internet. Following the controversy, the young boy’s mother, Terry Mango, addressed the masses by stating she didn’t see the issue with the company’s decision. Now, Mango, alongside her son’s father, Frank Odhiambo, are speaking out.
According to The Root, the parents joined ITV’s “This Morning” to share their reaction to not only the clothing item in question but to people’s opinions on the matter. “It is not an overreaction when it comes to racism, everyone should act differently based on their opinions of what racism is,” Mango said.
She added that she wasn’t necessarily taken aback by the word “monkey” on her son’s hoodie. “To put the T-shirt and the word ‘monkey’ with racism, maybe that is not my way of looking at it,” she said. “I’m just looking at Liam, a black young boy, modeling a T-shirt that has the word ‘monkey’ on it.”
The boy’s father also chimed in and said that the family needs to shift their focus back to raising their kids. “As much as people have gotten involved in this, for me it’s very important that people understand that me and Teresa, we have a son, we have other children in the home that we are raising, and we have an obligation to protect our children,” he said.
This news follows a protest in Johannesburg, South Africa, where a couple of H&M stores were ransacked and shut down.