After H&M published photos of a young black model in a hoodie that read “coolest monkey in the jungle,” people on social media quickly called out the clothing line for creating such a tone-deaf, racially insensitive image. Celebrities publicly denounced H&M, and collaborators G-Eazy and the Weeknd both announced they would no longer be working with the company. The controversy also sparked a lot of awesome artist reimaginings of the hoodie.
But one artist who collaborates with the brand has notably remained silent. Nicki Minaj recently released a Winter line with H&M, and though some noticed she’s deleted Instagram posts promoting her line, fans want to know where the rapper stands in the debate over the hoodie.
In response to the backlash, H&M released a statement apologizing for the situation. “We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print,” the company said. “We have a responsibility to be aware of and attuned to all racial and cultural sensitivities – and we have not lived up to this responsibility this time.”
The mother of the model said she was fine with the photo and claimed that people online were overreacting. “That’s my son…av [sic] been to all photo shoots and this was not an exception, everyone is entitled to their opinion about this,” Terry Mango wrote on Facebook. “This is one of hundreds of outfits my son has modeled… stop crying Wolf all the time, unnecessary issue.”
Lebron James, Questlove, Diddy, Azealia Banks, and Pusha T are among the other celebrities that responded to the photo. While some fans are condemning Nicki, others are defending her silence, arguing that the rapper is busy while she finishes her upcoming album.