Gucci's Black Face Controversy and the Black Dollar

Posted by CapWay in Lifestyle & TravelJanuary 27, 2023(Last Updated January 27, 2023)3 min read
Key Takeaways
  • The Gucci and Prada blackface controversies sparked conversations about where minorities spend their money.
  • Many celebrities, like T.I., Dapper Dan, and Spike Lee, are set to join an ongoing conversation about where minorities spend money.
  • Communities of color are not new to boycotts or discussions about pooling resources and reinvesting them in businesses where people feel represented, seen, and heard. 
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

The recent Gucci and Prada blackface controversies moved many influencers, like T.I., Dapper Dan, and Spike Lee, to join an ongoing conversation about where minorities spend money. Whether you have Gucci money or not, this is still a meaningful conversation about the Black dollar. After all, African-Americans spend roughly $1.2T annually. 

Communities of color are not new to boycotts or discussions about pooling resources and reinvesting them in businesses where people feel represented, seen, and heard. But, beyond the idea of the Black dollar, these happenings bring up a more profound point about what our money says about us individually. On average, the Black dollar remains within the Black community for only six hours, meaning how we spend or aspire to spend our money matters and reflects our values. 

Recommended Read: Why Black Business Month is Great, but Support Year-Round is Better

What was the Gucci Blackface Controversy?

The Gucci blackface controversy occurred when the Italian fashion company released a black sweater with a collar roll up and a red lip surrounding the person’s mouth. Since this sweater covered up nearly half of the person’s face, many were saying this product resembled blackface.


As a result of this controversy, the item was immediately removed from all of Gucci’s physical stores. Gucci, on February 7, 2019, issued an apology on social media regarding their actions. In a statement, the Fashion House said, "Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper. We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.”


gucci store

Image Credit: Sorbis /


The Gucci team said they wish to turn this incident into a powerful learning moment, and mentioned that they are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout their organization. Although we wish these incidents do not happen, another global fashion icon, Prada, had a similar lapse in judgment. 


Prada had put blackface trinkets on its handbags, and it was alarming to many people as they believed this doll was associated with racism. Like Gucci, Prada pulled their designer handbags off the shelf, but they were also faced with a civil lawsuit requiring them to undergo diversity training.


prada store

Image Credit: B.Zhou /


Why it is crucial to Align Your Values


A vital part of a successful money journey is aligning your spending with what is important to you. Although there are many different brands people choose to wear, making sure that the company’s values align with yours is essential. If you are not happy with Gucci and Prada's decisions regarding their products, then you should not give them your money. 


Otherwise, you would be supporting their ideologies, and you must draw a line and ensure that you spend your money at companies that align with your values. 


Recommended Read: Six Ways Group Economics Build Wealth Within Black Communities


Why Black Net Worth is Expected to Hit 0

Several modern factors have caused a significant delay in increasing Black wealth, such as student loan debt and the credit gap. However, another significant overlooked expenditure is designer clothing. According to the Knowledge of Wharton, Black and Hispanics spend 30% more than White people on designer clothing, which equates to around $2,300 per year. Since these communities are spending on items that will not benefit them in the long run, it will be difficult to build wealth for themselves and future generations. 


woman shopping on phone

Image Credit: Kateryna Onyshchuk

The Money Wrap-Up


Gucci and Prada’s blackface controversies have shown that major companies may not always have the same values as you. If you see that some companies have different ideologies from what you support, then a probable course of action could be to find smaller companies that share the same beliefs as you and give your money to them. But finding local-owned businesses to do your shopping may be better if you wish to ensure that your values align with where you spend your money, but also making sure that the Black dollar stays within the Black community.


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