BLACK VOICES

Gucci Announces Plans On 'Cultural Diversity And Awareness' After Blackface Scandal

Gucci head Marco Bizzarri thanked Harlem fashion icon Dapper Dan for helping bring community leaders to the table to meet with the CEO.

Gucci has announced plans to boost cultural diversity and awareness within its company after it received backlash for one of its clothing items resembling blackface caricatures.

The luxury brand released a statement on social media Friday sharing its first set of initiatives to address the incident in what it says is the start of a “long-term plan of actions.”

“We accept full accountability for this incident, which has exposed shortfalls in our ongoing strategic approach to embedding diversity and inclusion in both our organization and in our activities,” Marco Bizzarri, Gucci president and CEO, said in the statement. 

Last week, Harlem fashion icon Dapper Dan, born Daniel Day, announced on Instagram that Bizzarri planned to travel from Italy to Harlem to meet with him and other community and industry leaders to address the controversy.

Day notably collaborated with Gucci on a special collection in 2017 and teamed up with the brand to open an atelier in central Harlem, described as an homage to Day’s original famed boutique in the ’80s and ’90s

“I am particularly grateful to Dapper Dan for the role he has played in bringing community leaders together to offer us their counsel at this time,” Bizzarri continued. 

Gucci was widely criticized earlier this month after images of its $890 balaclava knit top began circulating on social media. The sweater, which features an opening with bright red lips that can be stretched over the mouth, was lambasted for having a resemblance to racist anti-black caricatures

The Italian luxury brand announced last week that it removed the item from both its online and physical stores.

The company’s first set of initiatives includes hiring global and regional directors for diversity and inclusion, launching a multicultural design scholarship program, and global learning initiatives. 

Day released a statement on Friday, prior to Gucci’s, acknowledging his meeting with the brand’s leaders. 

We had some of the best minds from the corporate world participating, experts in inclusivity and accountability ― 90% people of color,” he wrote. “They made great demands. It’s time for Gucci to answer.”

Day added that he plans to announce a date for a town hall meeting in Harlem, to “talk about how we feel about what they have proposed.”

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