A tweet sent out on Wednesday from the company’s official account got people talking about whether three white models wearing N.W.A. and Ice Cube shirts as part of their new arrivals was cultural appropriation of the ‘80s rap group disguised as commerce. The original tweet has since been deleted, but here’s a screenshot. It was also pointed out that a Google maps search for Forever 21s near Compton yields no results.
There was confusion:
But WHYYY does Forever 21 have NWA apparel, with some Miley Cyrus looking models in them ??
— DreamvilleTherapist (@TheQueenKi) September 20, 2013
People….people are…are really upset by Forever 21 selling NWA shirts? Or that white people are wearing them? https://t.co/DLAwpmS9Js
— Barbados Hightower (@SnottieDrippen) September 19, 2013
There were blanket assumptions:
The nerve of forever 21 dropping clothes like that. These little teenage white chick’s have no idea what NWA is.
— Victor Sanchez (@questioncom) September 19, 2013
Twitter user @PattiLaHelle released a response video on Thursday. In it, she explains this issue isn’t necessarily about race but more about ignorance and knowledge of where that attire and culture came from. “Now you don’t have to even step foot in Compton to get a Compton t-shirt,” she said.
Forever 21 has been re-branding pop culture references on its clothing for years now, but the timing is interesting; there were several tweets blaming Miley Cyrus for this. Forever 21’s Twitter kept on making people upset this week: Take this sort-of-sexist Drake tweet.