Thursday, March 23, 2023

Some shoppers raise eyebrows at retailers selling new ‘Juneteenth’ merchandise

Clothing retailer Kohl’s is offering gray, green, and red “Juneteenth 1865” tank tops and T-shirts for juniors and boys for $23.99. hopes to wow shoppers with dozens of wall hangings featuring abstract graphic designs and silhouettes of black women, ranging in price from $60 to $160.

In the first major push to commercialize Juneteenth, celebrated by black people for generations as the day in 1865, when a Union general informed a group of enslaved people in Texas that they were free, a handful of major retail Sellers are bringing the goods.

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But some accessories, from cotton tank tops with red, yellow and green American flags to lawn accessories with slogans like “Freedom,” are raising eyebrows among shoppers who accuse retailers of exploiting Juneteenth. accusing President Joe Biden of cashing in on June. 19 A federal holiday in 2021.

In May, Walmart began marketing a new “Celebrated Edition” Red Velvet and Cheesecake Juneteenth Ice Cream until complaints surfaced on Twitter, prompting Walmart to remove it.

One Twitter user posted on June 11, “Just saw Pride and Juneteenth ice cream at Walmart, I think we’re in a bad place.”

Walmart said in a statement in May that the retailer has received “reactions that certain items have caused concern for some of our customers.” The retailer apologized and said it would remove the items as appropriate. sells a range of children’s books on the history of Juneteenth as well as dozens of T-shirts.

Dollar Tree drew criticism on social media in May for selling Juneteenth party decorations in non-traditional colors. According to the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants, decorations are manufactured by vendors who are not descendants of slaves, an advocacy group that supports reparations for black American descendants of slavery. Dollar Tree did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

promote black sellers

Connie Ross, vice president and president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Empower Consultancy, said Walmart and other brands should use the holiday to promote Black sellers.

“Juneth wasn’t born out of a beautiful story, but give it time, and people are going to find a way to associate it with something positive,” Ross said.

Ross hopes that more companies will “soften” the meaning of Juneteenth by avoiding its connection to history.

Liz Rogers, a Black founder of Creamylicious Ice Creams sold at Walmart, Target and Kroger, said that none of her retail customers approached her for Juneteenth partnerships or events, and she often pitched companies to get them on their shelves. Does matter.

JCPenney’s Chief Merchandising Officer Michele Valazlo said the company is donating any net profit from the sale of its Juneteenth merchandise to Unity Unlimited, a non-profit that says it helps communities “remove racial and cultural divides.” helps to. Wlazlo said JCPenney looks at customer feedback, traditional retail holidays and other factors to determine promotional events.

Brian Packer of public relations agency Golin said brands tapping into Juneteenth should find ways to upgrade products and services created by people in those communities. He said it’s more complicated than “putting a black power fist on something”.

Alternatively, very subtle messages may also have flaws. In the product question area of ​​’s $30 Masterpiece Art Gallery, Juneteenth Framed Canvas Art, a series of orange shapes against a white background, a person asked: “What does this have to do with Juneteenth?”

Target, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed by police, accepted Juneteenth as an official annual company holiday in 2020 for the first time since the spread of national protests against police brutality.

The company has provided internal resources detailing Juneteenth’s history and a list of community events for employees to participate in. Employees can also take days off or work for overtime pay, it said.

Read more: Juneteenth: Everything you need to know about the holiday to end American slavery

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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