... the other Black experience

Raury protests Dolce & Gabanna on their own runway for mocking the power of boycotting

Atlanta artist Raury basically Trojan horsed his way across enemy lines as one of the models who walked in Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring-Summer ’18 runway show this past Saturday at Men's Fashion Week in Milan. D&G has drawn recent criticism for their decision to dress First Lady Melania Trump and designer Domenico Dolce‘s 2015 remarks about “synthetic” children and gay parenthood. In reaction to criticism for proudly dressing FLOTUS, Dolce and partner Stefano Gabbana launched the cheeky “Boycott Dolce & Gabbana” (You know, like Beyonce did a year earlier). The campaign includes merch and commercials featuring young people joyously “protesting”, very Pepsi commercial à la Kendall Jenner.

So, in response to D&G’s flippant response to consumer’s gripes with the company’s actions, Raury, who walked in the show’s finale, removed the Dolce & Gabbana bomber and hoodie he had been styled in, revealing messages of resistance scribbled across his body: “PROTEST and DG GIVE ME FREEDOM and I AM NOT YOUR SCAPEGOAT”.

Speaking with GQ the day after his hasty exit from the fashion show, Raury explained the reasoning being his decision to make such a bold statement, "The “Boycott Dolce & Gabbana” T-shirt they created completely makes a mockery of what "boycotting" is. Boycotting is the people’s voice. A protest is the people’s voice. It has power. It changes things."

He continued, "When I typed up their names, the first thing I saw was a headline on, “Dolce & Gabbana Is Trolling Melania Trump Critics with This $245 T-shirt.” National Post, AOL, etc. And then I saw a commercial featuring the boycott T-shirt, and it looked playful and lighthearted—it was a joke. It was a troll. Me, as a young man from Stone Mountain, Georgia, the birthplace of the Klu Klux Klan, I really felt this mockery of boycotting. Who knows, if boycotts didn’t happen, if Rosa Parks and M.L.K. didn’t step up…who knows if I would even exist. Boycotting matters. Boycotting is real. Dolce’s entire campaign says it’s not real. I know that if I walk out there and support or endorse anything that sits next to Trump—or supports someone who even makes dinner for Trump or whatever—then that means that I support Trump also. I don’t support Trump. So I’m trapped, and I have to let people know that I don’t support Trump and I don’t support those who are trying to undermine the voice of the people."

Read more of Raury's interview with QG, here.

photo via Antonio Calanni/AP

photo via GQ

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