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GapKids Girl Empowerment Ad Portrays Black Girl as a Silent Armrest

Avatar • Apr 4, 2016

Gap recently launched their GapKids x ED campaign, a collaboration with Ellen Degeneres that features young girls doing incredible things.

There is 8‑year-old Livia, one of the world’s youngest DJs, Logan, a 12-year-old B‑girl, Asleigh, a 13-year-old wildlife photographer and four members of the humanitarian acrobatic troupe Le Petit Cirque.

GapKids

GapKids

GapKids

GapKids

GapKids

GapKids

The campaign is cute, for sure, but it’s the picture used to portray Le Petit Cirque that is raising eyebrows.

All the members of the troupe strike poses that exemplify confidence or skill. All except Lucy, the young black girl and the only black girl in the campaign, who is literally used as an armrest as she stands with an unenthusiastic expression on her face.

GapKids

GapKids

That Lucy is an afterthought is even more evident in the accompanying video for the ad launch. Sitting in the back row, Lucy is the only troupe member not caught on camera speaking.

It is disappointing that they did not do this talented little black girl justice, especially given how much black girl magic is overflowing today. There is 9‑year-old Anaya Lee Willabus from Brooklyn, the youngest published author of a chapter book, or 11-year-old Mikaila Ulmer whose BeeSweet Lemonade just landed a multi-million dollar Whole Foods deal, 14-year-old Mo’ne Davis, the first girl to earn a win and to pitch a shutout in the Little League World Series , and 12-year-old twins Imani and Nia who won a scholarship to the American Ballet Theatre’s prestigious summer program.

But, by the looks of this campaign, Gap wasn’t particularly interested in making little black girls feel empowered.

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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Justice S
Justice S
4 years ago

That little girl looks so sad and uncomfortable. What made matters worse they didn’t interview her and then they went with that group picture out of all of them.Some gay people aren’t aware at all.I have met some of the most racist Gay people.Like our struggle isn’t as important as theirs.Ellen you should know better.

Seriously?!
Seriously?!
4 years ago

They are sisters. My brothers did that to me all the time.

Sharmine
Sharmine
4 years ago

It was as if she was invisible, really.… Weather the little girl wanted to talk or not. They could have acknowledge her presence during the group chat.

cryssi
cryssi
4 years ago

I agree and I used to think Ellen was more self aware than that.…until she did that Nicki Minaj parody.

Grace
Grace
4 years ago

This is so sad. Any black woman who grew up/ lives with white women has been that girl/ woman. Didn’t they think it looked off when editting?! Didn’t Ellen feel strange as a seasoned interviewer neglecting someone sitting right in front of her? So rude, like she doesn’t exist.

Milos Mom
Milos Mom
4 years ago

::sigh:: OK… Who do we talk to about this????

Kegz
4 years ago

LMAO my girl lucy is already ready to leave the group and fly solo like beyonce.

Christine Alexis
Christine Alexis
4 years ago

It’s always a hit or miss with Gap. Just can’t bring myself to buy from them. It was like she wasn’t even there. So sad 🙁

Claudette UK
Claudette UK
4 years ago

Typical. They need to learn to watch how they portray and depict us.

TWA4now
TWA4now
4 years ago

It’s not enough to have one black person to fulfill a quota. They should redo the campaign over.and more people of color and everyone doing something extraordinary.

rehs sllew
rehs sllew
4 years ago

Tears actually came to my eyes when i saw the picture.…

rehs sllew
rehs sllew
4 years ago

Lets put racism aside for a moment. Who would want to be used as a arm rest? Black, Asain, Indian, White, Native ? Nobody!

Philly Jawn
Philly Jawn
4 years ago

I don’t shop at gap old navy or ne of their stores so thx but no thx

KnottyNatural
4 years ago

Just to add balance, there is also a promotional image of a group including a tall black girl resting her elbow on a shorter white girl’s head.

Cathy0001
Cathy0001
4 years ago
Reply to  KnottyNatural

but that white girl isn’t the only white girl in the photo.

Seriously?!
Seriously?!
4 years ago

Has anyone read what the mom wrote about this? They are sisters and the younger one decided that she didn’t want to talk. So I applaud Gap for keeping her in the video and not making her do anything that makes her uncomfortable or asking her to not be in the shoot period and finding someone else.

Cathy0001
Cathy0001
4 years ago
Reply to  Seriously?!

Sure, the white mom doesn’t see a problem with it. She’s never been the only black woman in the room. And in all of LA there must be more than one talented black girl. They can’t be that hard to find.

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