According to Teen Vogue, designer Tory Burch apologized in a comment on the company’s website which has since been deleted. “I personally feel badly if this hurt anyone, and I’m truly sorry.”
Elle Malaysia, who exclusively posted the video and interview with the director and lead model, reported that the brand has requested for the video’s removal from all channels.
Tory Burch just played themselves.
The fashion company premiered a new ad on Tuesday to promote their spring/summer 2017 collection. The video, directed by Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, features English model Poppy Delevingne and two other white models dancing to “Juju on that Beat” by Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall (who hopefully got paid for this).
Engelbert told Elle Malaysia that her vision for the ad was to make it “playful” and “chic.”
“’Juju on That Beat’ is a happy song; I like the fact that it is a very easy song, too,” she said. “The girls learned the moves very quickly and they had fun. The best part was watching them rehearsing and doing the song because they enjoyed themselves for real, which made this whole process very fun.”
But the director, who is white, got a few things wrong. Not only was this video cringeworthy, especially when the lyrics “and you know my hair nappy” come around, it also features no black people. The viral dance for “Juju on that Beat,” a sample derived from Crime Mob’s classic “Knuck If You Buck,” was created, popularized and perfected by young black people.
Engelbert shared the video on Instagram and a while many of the comments were positive, some users said that it was inappropriate for the brand to use black music and dance without featuring a single black person. But they managed to give a monkey-shaped handbag a cameo.
“As someone who has always liked Tory Burch as a brand, this is a huge disappointment. @bat_gio@toryburch is cultural appropriation at its worst. If your trying to broaden your demographic you might have missed the mark here. For the non-demographic, this ad is confusing and inappropriate #culturalawarenessanddiversity,” one person said.
“Please include a diverse cast when creating your next video,” another user commented. “It left me feeling some kind of way seeing a blonde girl dancing to a song that comes from the African American culture. With all the political heartache they’ve been through this past year, please strongly consider adding a beautiful African American woman to your next film. Thank you!”
Black people already have a tough time breaking into the fashion industry. The very least these companies could do is cast black models if they’re going to profit off of black culture.