It’s tough for advertisers to win these days.Last week, Gucci unveiled its newest ad campaign, featuring exclusively black models and inspired by black art and youth culture. Nonetheless, the images almost immediately came under fire. They were denounced as cultural exploitation and “soul drag.”High fashion has been increasingly criticized for its lack of diversity—and Gucci’s casting director recently said outright that his brand had a problem. The ad campaign was an effort to “reset the damage done and start the business back on the road of inclusiveness,” he said.In a news release announcing the pre-fall 2017 ad campaign, Gucci said it pays homage to international black culture in the 1960s. The brand’s inspirations included Malick Sidibé, a photographer from Mali whose photos depicted the ‘60s party scene; London’s recent “Made You Look” exhibit, which featured photos of “Dandyism and Black Masculinity”; and Britain’s Northern Soul movement.
Gucci’s New Ads, Featuring All African-American Models, Under Fire for Treating ‘Black Soul as Drag’ |Heat Street