11 January 2018

Kenya: Boy At the Centre of Racial Storm Has Kenyan Roots

Photo: Premium Times
H&M U.K. advertisement screenshot

A black boy at the centre of a racism storm involving Swedish multinational clothing retail company, H&M, has Kenyan roots.

The photo, which has gone viral, shows the black boy modelling for American fashion powerhouse, wearing a green hoodie with the message "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle".

A Kenyan woman by the name Terry Mango has claimed to be the child's mother.

She has shocked internet users when, in a series of posts, backed H&M, saying there was nothing wrong with the message.

On social media, the woman identifies herself as a Kenyan who works in Sweden.

"I am the mum and this is one of the hundreds of outfits my son has modelled. Stop crying wolf all the time ... Get over it. If I bought the jumper and put it on him and posted it on my pages would that make me racist? I get people's opinions but they are not mine," wrote Ms Mango.


The Nation could not independently verify her claims. We got in touch with her via Facebook but she had not responded by Wednesday evening. H&M has already issued an apology saying it had taken down the image and the hoodie has also been removed from its product offering.

"We would like to put on record our position in relation to the controversial image of our hoodie. Our position is simple, we have got this wrong and we are deeply sorry," read part of the statement.

The use of the black boy caused an uproar globally, with social media users accusing the clothing brand of racism for using a black child to convey the message written on the hoodie.

Musician, The Weekend, even took to his Twitter saying he had cancelled any kind of partnership with H&M.


"Woke up this morning shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I'm deeply offended and will not be working with @hm anymore..." tweeted the musician.

And according to media reports, American rapper P Diddy has offered the boy a modelling contract worth Sh103 million ($1 million) to work with his clothing line Sean John.

Manchester United player Romelu Lukaku also posted an altered version of the advertisement with "black is beautiful" inscribed on the hoodie. Lukaku caption the image: "You're prince, soon to be a king. Don't let anybody tell you different #blackexcellence."

NBA player Lebron James followed suit with a similar image, captioning it: "[H&M] u got us all wrong! And we ain't going for it! Straight up! Enough about y'all and more of what I see when I look at this photo."

More on This

H&M Apologises Over Their Racial 'Coolest Monkey in the Jungle' Hoodie

Swedish retailer, H&M, has apologised for their racial slur hoodie advertorial. In the ad, a young black model wears… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.