back to top

People Are Unhappy This Website Used White Models To Advertise "Melanin Poppin'" T-Shirts

The images appeared because the company uses digital "stock models" to show off designs.

Posted on

People have expressed their disappointment with Redbubble, an online marketplace for independent designers, for using white models to advertise T-shirts with slogans including "melanin poppin'" and "been black been cool".

redbubble / Via

People wanted to know why the company doesn't use black models.

@redbubble why do you use white models in hopes of black customers? Can't find any black people to rep your melanin clothing anywhere?

Twitter: _stephymd / Via Twitter: @_stephymd

One of the white models is also wearing a T-shirt with the words "curls popping".

Naturally, there were also people straight-up mocking the images.

Blackexplosions / Via Twitter: @Blackexplosions
QueenCharXOXO / Via Twitter: @QueenCharXOXO

However, some people spotted that Redbubble uses "stock" digital models so different clothes designs can be superimposed.

@JayZOverrated lmao I'll give them the benefit of the doubt & say the website uses default models for designed shirts online ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

@_stephymd are you aware that this website uses stock images of models and pastes the shirt design on them? It's automated.

But people argued that the range of stock models should be more diverse in the first place.

This annoys me because these are stock models so no they couldn't "find" black models. But i get it.

There are multiple designers of the T-shirts, including Madisyn Mahagoni, from Texas. She told BuzzFeed News she understood the points people were making, but said she feels people weren't aware of the "full truth".

Mahagoni said: "RedBubble is great for artists. The site allows you to sell your art and RedBubble will manufacture it for you. ... I can't afford to manufacture it myself."

"The models were a small issue to me at first," Mahagoni said. She said she reached out to Redbubble and the company told her to discuss it in a forum where people can vote on certain issues.

redbubble / Via

Mahagoni urged people who have concerns about the models to express them through this medium.

"There needs to be people of colour across the board but you also have to give major credit to Redbubble for making changes and listening to our voices, and they have added a brown girl who has a mini afro," she added.

redbubble / Via

Mahagoni said she would much prefer it if there were no stock models at all. "I am just trying to get my message across," she said. "I am pro-black and I love to share people in my designs on my social media. Those images being shared are more powerful to me than a stock image."

A spokesperson for Redbubble told BuzzFeed News: "There are a number of different 'stock models' of different races on which the digital works, created by independent artists, are displayed."

They added: "The digital model on which a digital image is displayed is randomly selected. If artists are concerned about the race of the model on which their work is displayed they can disable the apparel-related options. Their work would still be available on all the other products available on Redbubble.โ€