Inspirational

LeBron James Just Edited the Racist H&M Ad—& It’s the BEST Response America Has Seen Yet

A racist H&M ad made headlines Monday after the retailer featured a young African-American boy wearing a sweatshirt that read “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” on their U.K. e-commerce site.

Outrage from the general public and numerous celebrity figures led to the company pulling the ad and releasing what many considered to be a lackluster apology through a spokesperson: “We understand that many people are upset about the image. We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print.”

The advertising blunder led to “Starboy” singer The Weeknd immediately dropping his partnership with the clothing store.

“I’m deeply offended,” he tweeted the morning the ad surfaced, “and will not be working with H&M anymore.”

But perhaps most notable was LeBron James’ bold response to the offensive image. The Cleveland Cavaliers star took to Instagram Monday with an edited version of the ad, featuring a crown overlaying the racist phrase as well as one atop the boy’s head.

“U got us all wrong!” he wrote. “And we ain’t going for it! Straight up!”

James continued with an empowering charge to his fellow African-American brothers and sisters that has since garnered nearly a million likes and widespread viral attention:

“Enough about y’all and more of what I see when I look at this photo. I see a Young King!! The ruler of the world, an untouchable Force that can never be denied! We as African Americans will always have to break barriers, prove people wrong and work even harder to prove we belong but guess what, that’s what we love because the benefits at the end of the road are so beautiful!! #LiveLaughLove❤️#LoveMyPeople‍”

Thousands of commenters have doted their praises on the powerful statement.

“Love this version of the pic but more importantly the caption. Now that is truly everything,” wrote one Instagram user.

@kingjames thank you for your highly intelligent rebuttal to the daft @hm ad,” wrote another. “Your voice echoes throughout!”

Others have since started posting their own version of the hoodie with encouraging alternative messages to the insensitive “monkey” reference.

“You’re prince soon to be king. Don’t let anybody tell you different,” wrote Manchester United soccer star Romelu Lukaku alongside a revised version of the sweatshirt that read “Black is Beautiful.”

While some believe the ad was no big deal and unintentionally racist, most are giving major kudos to LeBron James for using his celeb platform to lift up the marginalized African-American community with words of truth and encouragement.

I pray it’s a message that continues the conversation about breaking down racial barriers and bridging cultural differences.

Kelsey Straeter
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Kelsey is an editor at Outreach. She’s passionate about fear fighting, freedom writing, and the pursuit of excellence in the name of crucifying perfectionism. Glitter is her favorite color, 2nd only to pink, and 3rd only to pink glitter.

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