virgil abloh emmett till face masks

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Virgil Abloh gets roasted for ‘tone-deaf’ Emmett Till face masks

The designer has since limited who can comment on his Instagram post featuring the masks.

Dec 12, 2020, 12:51 pm

IRL

 

Kahron Spearman

Virgil Abloh, a fashion designer and the Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director, is getting roasted on social media for his new face mask designs, one of which features the name of Emmett Till, the Black 14-year-old who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955.

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The mask was featured in a recent Vogue shoot with tennis superstar and activist Naomi Osaka. Some of the other masks feature sayings, such as "for freedom," "speak up," and "actions louder than words," in black lettering on what appears to be off-white-colored cloth (like the name of his personal label, Off-White).

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However, many weren't feeling the designs.

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Abloh is known for what he calls a "three per-cent approach," a highly-controversial process where he alters original ideas in small increments, making room for irony, post-irony, and reconstruction.

People online are accusing the designer of lacking creativity. "This is what happens when you lack real creativity and you start doing shit you think will please the masses but you just end up looking dumb af," user @ajscribes wrote in response to one viral tweet that highlighted the masks.

Others are accusing the design of being "exploitative" and are hoping Abloh isn't going to try to profit off of them.

One user, @sianimonae, noticed that one of the Till-scripted cloths looks an "upside-down clan hood."

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Till, who was visiting from Chicago, was accused of whistling at a white woman named Carolyn Bryant. Her husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were found not guilty in the kidnapping and murder of Till by an all-white jury. Bryant and Milam later admitted to the murder. Carolyn Bryant also admitted in 2008 that the inciting event never even occurred. Till's murder and the open-casket funeral were seen as catalysts for the next phase of the civil rights movement, leading to the well-known bus boycotts.

Abloh, who was criticized in the past for publicizing his $50 donation to the Black Lives Matter movement, has since limited who can comment on his Instagram post featuring the masks.


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@buhlakay11 commented: "its the way virgil abloh knows he's marketing to white people too thinking they're gonna be activists buying a $199 mask with victims of police brutality."


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*First Published: Dec 12, 2020, 12:51 pm