Canadian RnB singer and Toronto native, The Weeknd, recently cut ties with the Sweden-based retail brand H&M after the company featured an ad that pictured a child of African American descent dressed in a sweatshirt that read “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
The artist partnered with the international brand for its 2017 Spring Icons Collection and even modeled some of its apparel.
On Monday, The Weeknd tweeted that he was “shocked and embarrassed” and “will not be working with @hm anymore” along with a photo of the racial ad.
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) January 8, 2018
By the next morning, the tweet had over 103,000 retweets and 230,000 favorites.
“We completely understand and agree with his reaction to the image. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken and we also regret the actual print,” H&M said in a statement. “We will continue the discussion with The Weeknd and his team separately.”
The ad reached almost everyone with other celebrities chiming in on what had occurred. Lebron James posted an edited version of the ad on his Instagram that showed it in a more positive perspective, along with a compelling caption.
@hm u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that's what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️ #LoveMyPeople??????⚖️??⚖️
H&M had used the photo online to sell the hoodie in the United Kingdom. The brand then removed the photo, and the hoodie can no longer be purchased. The company said that it will “look into [their] internal routines to avoid such situations in the future.”