Let's start this off by giving Zazzle.com some major RiRi side eye:
As reported by Yahoo, the online retailer has recently come under fire for advertising "Black Girl Magic" T-shirts on white models.
Yep, you read that right.
As noted by Yahoo, Zazzle.com lets designers customize their own products, including clothing, and hosts these products through its e-commerce platform. However, the online marketplace uses a computerized and customizable system that pairs stock models with the products, which is most likely how this disaster came to pass.
And eagle-eyed consumers noticed.
On Tuesday, Twitter user Jackie Aina gave an example of how this system can go terribly wrong.
well in that case pic.twitter.com/2xI849O0we— La Bronze James (@jackieaina) July 25, 2017
And the reaction was ruthless.
I can't anymore with this nonsense. I really can't. pic.twitter.com/gIlIi9wfeh— Tori Lloyd (@OhWhoseShe) July 25, 2017
Me as a white person right now... pic.twitter.com/wpH3aajqyI— Charley L. Bunting (@charleylbunting) July 25, 2017
I am,,,,, perplexed pic.twitter.com/SeQD1WsQad— Addie✨ (@AddieBlueford) July 25, 2017
I'm trying to understand whats going on here pic.twitter.com/1ECtf0zD3P— A Gem💎 (@fiiilwe_) July 25, 2017
Some people questioned why white models are always used as a "default" model.
follow up question. what makes black girls so abnormal as to not be default.— (ง •̀_•́)ง (@JannaElizabeth4) July 26, 2017
And in that same vein, others questioned why companies don't use diverse models.
This shit again??? My god would it kill companies to have a better variety of models to slap t shirt designs on.— speaking belgish (@aviviavai) July 25, 2017
Some took Zazzle.com to task.
Did they honestly think that putting an obviously not black model wearing shirts that display black pride was good idea? pic.twitter.com/a4yTsseBkn— Jennifer (@WasabiLlama) July 25, 2017
And others found more cringe-worthy examples.
Although it's important to note that Zazzle.com didn't purposely put T-shirts celebrating black pride on white models, these screw-ups show that companies need to diversify the models they hire so the default model isn't always white. (And the fact that the default is always white in our society is an important conversation to have, too.)
If you still don't understand what the big deal is, consider the unofficial definition of #BlackGirlMagic, as explained by HuffPost's Julee Wilson: "Black Girl Magic is a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women. It's about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring, or mind-blowing about ourselves."
A white model wearing a T-shirt celebrating black pride is nothing to celebrate.
Update: Nicole Whitson, designer of the Stylnic shop via Zazzle, says in an email to HuffPost Canada that designers get "a selection of models to choose from when I upload my designs to Zazzle."
"They have always offered black women and men models to choose from when you make you design public and ready to purchase. So the onus would be on the actual designer themselves to make the selection," she continues.
However, she notes there "are not a vast selection of models in general, as this is a print-on-demand site."
More importantly, for Whiston, she would like to see more people support black talent.
"Instead of focusing on model selection, let's support black designers and PURCHASE their products on this site and others," she says.