FYI…Tory Burch and video director, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, appropriates from Black music without using Black models

FYI…Another marketing campaign created without forethought and inclusivity.  Why Tory? Why?  We love Tory Burch for her adorable TB flats, she even has them in size 12, and her quality ready to wear collections but her Spring 2017 campaign video, directed by Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, was offensive and lacked diversity.

Click on this link to view the video: Instagram @theshelahmarie Tory Burch video post.

Tory Burch apologized via twitter but then removed the apology, along with the video.

My question is why are we not asking the video director, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, what she was thinking when creating and editing the video? Was she not aware that using the line from the song ‘nappy hair’ and then having an all white cast of models singing it would be even remotely offensive?

By using the monkey purse as an unusual object in the scene, she created a focal point in the video with the aforementioned purse. The monkey purse stands out and demands attention. That’s video 101, you knew what you were doing with its placement. Her use of the song bite from “Juju on that beat” that refers to ‘nappy hair’, a negative term for African American hair texture, sung by three Caucasian women becomes even more offensive.  It was cringe-worthy.

Here are my questions to, Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, the video director:

  1.  Why did you not use a person of color in your video? There was obviously room in the shot for a third person.  Which leads me to the next question…
  2. Why a monkey purse?  As a professional creative director and videographer, mood boards are used and 99% of everything in a video is purposeful, why the monkey purse, if you were using an Afrocentric song?  Did you not realize that a monkey reference is offensive to the Black community?  Click on this link for you to understand why: Huffington Post: Comparing Black People to Monkeys
  3. Why haven’t you apologized for your creative choices that were in a national campaign?  If you’re objective was to make a “fun” video and you were told that you offended someone with your choice, should you not apologize?

You may ask why am I taking this further after the video was removed by Tory Burch. Ms. Burch and her company acknowledged their mistake, apologized and removed the video.  Meanwhile the creative behind the video and person responsible for the final cut, hasn’t acknowledged her offense.  Why is that important?  She is the creative director for several magazines.  An influencer in advertising and magazine editorials, as an Italian fashion editor and creative director to international luxury brands, her opinions and creativity feed the funnel of fashion content.  Her past videos for Tory Burch have over 10 million views.  She needs to apologize to a faction of people she markets to.  If she doesn’t acknowledge the offense to us, who will? Who really does?

That’s my FYI…

Here are more links on the same topic:

Please feel free to give your opinion in the comments below.  Offensive comments will be deleted and reported.  We are all here to learn from each other.

Jovanna Reyes


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