Friday, June 11, 2010

American Apparel Doesn't Want "Trashy" Black Women and Relaxed Hair?

I have always found American Apparel to be ultra trashy clothing.  I haven't even been able to buy a single piece just because whenever I got to the website, I feel like I'm actually surfing the web for porn; and, I'm assaulted by emaciated looking women; women who look like they've just done a line in the bathroom, or drugged with Rohypnol. 

Now American Apparel is no stranger to controversy.  It usually stems from their trashy images, but this time they are in some hot water for being materialistic douche bags.  What I found most interesting about the post was this: 

Another former AA manager says that she received the following instructions as to what kind of black girls she should try to hire during the company's open calls:
"none of the trashy kind that come in, we don't want that. we're not trying to sell our clothes to them. try to find some of these classy black girls, with nice hair, you know?"

i will remember that forever, especially the "nice hair" part. he was instructing another manager and i on who to look for during an upcoming open call, and i sat there dumbfounded, listening to him speak while the other manager made "uh huh, got it" sounds on her end of the phone. the other manager on the call with me later became a district manager, and at one point instructed me to tell two of my employees (both of whom happened to be black females) to stop straightening their hair. i refused to do this, but wondered if the mentality behind her request was related to what dov had said.
If you're asking yourself if they asked them to stop straightening their hair (and most likely go and stay natural), don't  You read that correctly.

I am not surprised by this.  American Apparel's CEO Dov Charney is a little pervert who is living out his teenage revenge fantasies to screw impressionable, and quite thirsty, chicks who want to model.   I'm also not surprised that a fashion establishment has an issue with black consumers.  We know the game.  What I am totally surprised at is the possible implication, for once in all my 28 years of life, that natural hair is nice hair...

Back in 2009, I did a post on sisters with natural hair appearing to be everywhere in media (ie commercials, billboards, magazine ads, etc.). I wondered then if this was a message to black women that perhaps the relaxed hair carried a stigma that companies no longer wanted to have attached to their brand.

I guess I appreciate the intention, but fuck the attack on black women.  This is just trashy.  It completely negates the positive message that natural hair is desirable because it's natural. How can we overlook the connotation that trashy could possibly equal relaxed, weaved up, etc.?  Especially considering the idea that straight hair being "professional" is something that white corporations put forth?

"We are no longer threatened, black women.  You can wear your natural hair now!" 

Either way, I would like to see more and more companies encourage natural hair.  I wonder why black women with natural hair seem to be at the forefront of advertising as well.  I think it has a lot to do with exoticism, but something organic.  Perhaps they think it adds a certain authenticity to the product? 

I have a feeling that more black women would go natural if they felt comfortable doing so, and without fear of losing their jobs.  Unfortunately, American Apparel is too shitty of a company to do it right...

P.S. I am SO glad I never bought shit from them...


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