50 cents is throwing up Gucci in flames.
Gucci, the leading apparel brand landed itself in controversy when it tried to launch a new line of wool balaclava jumper, which features an oversized neck with a red cutout for the mouth. It was Gucci’s Fall Winter 2018 launch that received outright outrage on social media for its depiction of blackface.
Gucci is pulling this $900 sweater after people called out the brand for evoking blackface pic.twitter.com/CSDhUBjAaJ
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 9, 2019
Hip-hop community was outraged and 50 cent was the latest in the roster to express his disgust for the eccentric outfit after T.I. and Soulja Boy boycotted it. He took onto Instagram by posting a video of him burning a white Gucci t-shirt.
Following the backfire, Gucci apologized for the sweater and removed the product from its website. In an official statement released, the fashion giant said, “Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,”, “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.”
In the wake of the controversy, Gucci chief executive François-Henri Pinault has pledged to increase cultural-sensitivity training for employees to ensure that products don’t offend the African-American community in the future.
Further, 50 cents has declared that he would be distributing the other Gucci t-shirts to the homeless.
Gucci needs to pull itself up before it ends up being a symbol of hate. Playing along very thin lines separating what’s acceptable and what’s not are is putting its brand reputation at stake. A little controversy might do good to increase brand reach but treading too much in there would be like playing with fire. After all, you don’t wanna be in the news for the wrong reasons over and over again.