Another day, another brand being dragged for cultural appropriation. This time, the offender is women's clothing brand Tory Burch. On March 21, the brand released a new ad campaign for its summer 2017 collection. One of the ads stars English model Poppy Delevigne dancing to "Juju on that Beat" alongside other models.
The problem is "Juju on that Beat," recorded by Zay Hifigerrr and Zayvion McCall, includes lyrics like "and you know my hair nappy," but there are no models of color in the ad.
The video's director Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert told Elle Malaysia that the ad is supposed to be "fun."
"'Juju on That Beat' is a happy song; I like the fact that it is a very easy song, too," she said. "The girls learned the moves very quickly and they had fun. The best part was watching them rehearsing and doing the song because they enjoyed themselves for real, which made this whole process very fun."
"Juju on That Beat" pulls its beat from "Knuck If You Buck," a song that Black people popularized and can cite word for word. Yet, there's not a single Black person in the ad — although Engelbert found space to include a monkey-shaped purse.
In response to the criticism, Tory Burch pulled the ad and issued an apology that has since been deleted.
"I personally feel badly if this hurt anyone, and I'm truly sorry," the brand said, according to Teen Vogue.
Cultural appropriation is a conversation that's happening quite often in fashion. To avoid being accused of it, it would help if designers cast people from the culture they're sampling. Just a thought.