White Models Used For Line Of T-Shirts Celebrating Black Women

The Zazzle shirts included empowering sayings such as, “Black Girl Magic,” “Melanin Goddess,” and “Strong Black Woman,” but were modeled by white women.

The retail site Zazzle.com made what has to be the most egregious of all mistakes.

The site is known for allowing people to upload personalized designs for T-shirts, coffee mugs, and other merchandise. However, they seem to be lacking a diverse set of stock models to showcase different products.

In one particular case, a line of t-shirts emblazoned with sayings that empower black women and celebrate brown skin were modeled on the site by white women.

The shirts include sayings such as, “Black Girl Magic,” “Melanin Goddess,” and “Strong Black Woman,” yet there isn’t a single black woman wearing one on Zazzle.

According to Mic, Zazzle defended the blunder by placing the blame on the designers who choose their own models when uploading designs.

“In the case of the T-shirts in question, each designer is shown a series of pre-posed randomized model shots upon which their design is placed,” a Zazzle spokesperson said in an email. “It’s always possible that gender, race and other attributes of the model do not match up to the specifics of the design, given the ratio of our millions of designs to the 100 or so T-shirt styles we offer.”

Even with this explanation, the question remains why all of their pre-posed randomized models are white in the first place.

The site has since apologized and is working on editing the apparel pages that automatically come with a white model.

“We understand how these designs, when automatically prepopulated on random models, can appear to be a sign of disrespect,” the spokesperson said. “We’re working diligently on an interim fix that doesn’t mismatch out-of-context content to models; some of the designs may be down temporarily while this is underway. At Zazzle, we’re committed to diversity and are working diligently on increasing the diversity of the preposed model shots within the T-shirt range itself.”

Now, that’s more like it, Zazzle. Recognizing your shortcomings and immediately correcting them is generally the best way to go for a business in these situations. 

Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Flickr, Stacie via Creative Commons 

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