The best paragraphs in Robin Givhan’s WaPo commentary “Seriously, Prada, what were you thinking?: Why the fashion industry keeps bumbling into racist imagery” isn’t the narrative around Prada’s utter stupidity in their SoHo window display of items from their Pradamalia collection.
AOC readers know that we do not hop on the bandwagon of every alleged act of fashion industry cultural appropriation or racism. But Givhan is correct and we concur: what in goddesses name were you thinking Prada?
Let’s take a different approach here because Givan has done a superb job of also telling the experience of Chinyere Ezie’s reaction upon seeing the Prada store window in Soho. We will quote liberally in a moment, but let’s back up even further and introduce Prada to this woman. From her website:
Chinyere Ezie (Cheen-Yer-Ray Ay-Zee-Ay) is a nationally recognized civil rights lawyer and social justice activist who specializes in constitutional litigation and anti-discrimination work. In 2016, Chinyere was named one of the country's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.
Chinyere is a Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights where she focuses on racial justice, gender justice, and LGBT rights work. Chinyere previously worked as a Staff Attorney at the Southern Poverty Law Center LGBT Rights Project, where she was lead counsel for transgender rights activist Ashley Diamond in her suit against the Georgia Department of Corrections. Chinyere also worked as a Trial Attorney at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she successfully represented employees who had been subjected to discrimination--securing a $5.1 million dollar trial verdict.
Chinyere is a William J. Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Yale University and Columbia Law School, where she served as President of Columbia Outlaws and Editor in Chief of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.
She also clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and worked as an associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, and Hamilton LLP in New York City.
In her free time, Chinyere enjoys photography, graphic design, and spending time with her wife and puppy.
Based on her stellar credentials, Chinyere Ezie more than qualifies as Prada’s target customer, although she is not one. Now, via Robin Givhan’s narrative, we share Ezie’s experience on meeting up with Prada’s SoHo window. Personally, I think all the great African goddesses were her spirit wings in this painful life episode, quietly hopping as invisible spirits on her shoulders when Ezie left DC’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for the return trip to New York.