Social Commentary No. 12 “PUMA’S ‘HOUSE OF HUSTLE’ EVENT IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF EXPLOITING BLACK PAIN FOR PROFIT”

“Puma’s ‘House of Hustle’ was more like a ‘Den of Degradation’!

On the 5th of April 2018, the global shoe brand Puma, invited 200+ consumers to Soho in London to showcase their latest campaign.

In this campaign, and against the Backdrop of Grenfell Towers (where 71 people died and 70 were injured), Puma decided to glamorise drug dealing and poverty – on a night when six youths were stabbed in London!

I’m sure you’ll agree with me, that this marketing campaign was wholly insensitive. Tone-deaf and ill-timed. It is nothing more than a disparaging and dangerous portrayal of the complex realities of living in London’s inner-cities.

The event was called ‘House of Hustle’. According to Puma (who have since apologised), it was staged as a way to celebrate the achievements of “young urban dwellers”.

However, as much as there is rampant socio-economic issues that plague low income residents living in tower blocks – to generalise and purport that such properties are nothing more than ‘trap houses’ is disgraceful. There was zero intercultural competence and sensitivity to be found in the campaign.

It’s imperative that we can have a meaningful discussion on the ongoing racial stereotyping found in advertising campaigns. There are relentless acts of micro and macro-aggression’s’ towards Black people – who are disparaged, dehumanised and demeaned through conscious marketing campaigns everyday, by a host of major multi-national brands from H&M and Dove to Heineken.

We have significant purchasing power, and need to engage in more ethical consumer habits. Let’s pool our resources and ‘Buy Back the Block, Buy Black and Bank Black’ as often as possible. Group Economics must be practised and implemented by the collective, not the few. We need to change our mindset and stop patronising companies who do nothing but capitalise, corrupt and culturally appropriate our communities.

Did you know about this event? Were you invited? Is this art imitating life, or a step too far in exploiting black pain for profit?

Let’s chat…leave your comments below.