It’s not uncommon for big box stores to try to create pieces of merchandise that tie into pop culture. Regardless, Forever 21 recently had to pull a photo of one of these items from its website, which featured a Black Panther-themed sweater featuring the phrase “Wakanda Forever,” following complaints. You can take a look at the merchandise in question below.
I’m not sure how copyright works in cases such as these, as the Forever 21 sweater is certainly not something you would find in the Disney parks right now. Regardless, that’s not the reason for the complaints. Black Panther was a huge movie to help bring diversity into the MCU and the concern seems to be more over the images associated with the sweater than the sweater itself.
As can be seen above, someone involved with Forever 21 threw a “Wakanda Forever” sweater onto a white model, causing people on the Internet to take the company to task for its choice, including comments like this one:
The company has already released a statement apologizing for the incident after the sweater became a talking point online, telling E!:
If you head to the menswear section of Forever 21’s site, you’ll see the same model over and over again on the man menswear page. It’s likely a case where the outlet shoots a lot of photos at once (other models are used similarly), but considering Forever 21 has a portfolio of diverse models, it’s a little surprising the company chose that model for the “Wakanda Forever” sweater.
Every once and awhile people get into hot water in regards to clothing choices and it seems stores are no exception. While the sweater is still available on the website, in this case, it is not longer worn by the model in question.
Black Panther is still a popular Marvel film months and months after its release last February and there is already some talk that it may become a major awards contender. The popular Wakanda characters made a return to the big screen soon after in Avengers: Infinity War and will be returning for a sequel at some point in the future (not to mention making another appearance in Avengers 4). Doubtless merchandise for the movie is popular given the right contest.
One thing’s for certain, it looks like the phrase “Wakanda Forever” isn’t going to die anytime soon.