'Blackface' mannequin at Dis-Chem causes outrage
- A Dis-Chem pharmacy in Johannesburg is facing accusations of racial insensitivity after it displayed a white mannequin with dark make-up as part of an African beauty marketing campaign.
- The display also featured a hut and other items.
- Other brands have recently come under fire for releasing racially insensitive products, many of them resembling blackface, a racist practice that dates back to the 1800s.
- For more stories, go to Business Insider SA's home page.
A marketing campaign celebrating African beauty went badly wrong for a Dis-Chem store in Johannesburg, as the decision to daub a white mannequin's face with dark make-up triggered an outcry.
The mannequin was dressed in an African-style dress alongside a small hut, wooden spoons and other items.
By Friday afternoon, the mannequin was replaced with a new display:
The hut was moved to another part of the store:
Other figures remained on the shop floor:
Including one that bore a striking resemblance to the offending mannequin:
The installation did not get a warm reception on social media:
This is so utterly absurd that it's hard to get my head around. I mean, SA does racism at a pop a minute but there is something quite surreal here ??— karla saller (@KarlaSaller) February 21, 2020
Someone actually approved this!?!????— An Abantuan (@Sbo_KaBhungane) February 21, 2020
According to a report on Sowetan Live, the manager of the store said the display was part of an “African beauty campaign”, which came as a directive from head office. When approached by Business Insider SA, the manager referred queries to head office.
A spokesperson from Dis-Chem's head office said that the store was not aware of the installation.
Dis-Chem stores, including the one in Killarney mall, are currently decorated with African-themed marketing material as part of its "Beauty Fair" promotion.
Gucci apologised last year for a R12,000 high-neck black wool sweater that featured bright red lips when pulled over the face, and the "balaclava sweater" had been removed from all stores and online.
What do they need to learn AGAIN? They just don’t and have not been made to care about black people!! No other ethnicity or cultural group has to bare this continuous insult and disrespect!!! Gucci withdraws jumper after 'blackface' backlash - BBC News https://t.co/ZQv1cJcAbS— Johnette Dillon (@JohnetteDillon7) February 8, 2019
In December 2018, Prada pulled a monkey bag charm after sharp social media backlash against the figure, which many pointed out resembled blackface.
In response, director Spike Lee launched a personal boycott of Gucci and Prada, demanding that the brands hire black designers.
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