The Italian luxury label Prada said it would remove a set of animal-themed trinkets from its stores and displays after being slammed on social media for featuring racist imagery. The criticism surrounded a set of keychains modeled after a brown monkey with large lips, called "Otto Toto," which was a part of Prada's "Pradamalia" collection.
Chinyere Ezie, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the monkey-like figures appeared to use "blackface imagery" in a public Facebook post on Thursday. "Today after returning to NYC after a very emotional visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture including an exhibit on blackface, I walked past Prada's Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery," Ezie wrote.
At the end of her post, Ezie encouraged those concerned to repost, retweet and call out Prada, using the hashtags #StopBlackface, #BoycottPrada and #EndRacismNow. "History cannot continue to repeat itself. Black America deserves better. And we demand better," she wrote.
Her now-viral complaints have proven effective, because on Friday, the luxury label tweeted that it would remove the "fantasy charms" of "imaginary creatures" from stores and displays, and noted that they were "not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface."
"Prada Group abhors racist imagery," the post continued "The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface."