Below you will find a pitch sent over to the senior editors of Fashionista. They loved the story but, unfortunately, the coverage is too late since it happened three weeks ago. I'm very proud of the pitch considering I drafted it within 12 hours. So, this is me sharing with you the draft I was going to send over to Fashionista had my original pitch been accepted:
Are you done, Forever 21? Are you finished with your hypocrisy and lack of consideration for cultural practices? It baffles me how negligent fashion businesses can be when it comes to cultural appropriation. However, this situation is a tad bit more baffling.
Last month, the press release for Forever 21’s #TheBlackOut campaign was within the same timeframe as Black Out Day. #TheBlackOut was a hashtag utilized in order to promote Black Out Day—a day to celebrate the beauty of melanin. Individuals of the Black community around the world celebrate the day by posting exceptionally, radiant photographs, videos and gifs of themselves with the hashtags, #TheBlackOut and #BlackOutDay. The first official #BlackOutDay was dated March 6th, 2015. Originally, the event was scheduled to happen every first Friday of the month. It was then changed to a seasonal event that would happen the 21st (ironic) day of every three months, effective May 1st 2015. The most recent Black Out Day was December 21st, 2015.
And then here comes Forever 21: utilizing the hashtag #BlackOut to promote their newest collection of mediocrely manufactured black apparel. The use of #BlackOut showed a sense of crassness to the Black Out Day movement. In addition, the campaign’s use of the hashtag was a paradox due to the campaign's lack of using black models; for the initial use of the hashtag was to celebrate blackness.
If fashion companies, holistically, were more involved in acknowledging movements in racial politics and cultural communities, this controversial bullshit wouldn’t happen. It would have been a great marketing strategy for Forever 21 to utilize the #BlackOut hashtag for cross-promotional purposes. Using black models to advertise the campaign would have assisted in the promotion of Black Out Day as well as showcased the company’s awareness of cultural movements.
Honestly, this isn’t the first time Forever 21 lacked compassion towards cultures and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I, a Black woman who celebrates melanin everyday, hope they will get the memo sooner rather than later.