Saturday, October 04, 2014

2014 Blackface Ad from D'Addario Woodwinds

D'Addario Woodwinds (Rico Reeds) posted this "Happy October" message to its Facebook page  yesterday, Oct. 2, 2014.

By the time I took the screenshot and began writing a comment about its blatant racism, the post was removed without acknowledgement or apology from the company that supposedly supports an art and jazz community so deeply rooted in the African-American experience.

**** Updated October 11, 2014****
 On October 7, 2014 I received this email from the social media manager at D'Addario:

I wanted to reach out to you further to our post from the D’Addario Woodwinds Facebook page. First let us apologize for the lack of sensitivity regarding that post. We had brought on a new consultant/intern this past month and had just granted them the ability to post without our micro-managing. It would seem we were premature in that judgment.

I was not in the office when this transpired but it was brought to my attention this morning. I had to dig around to find a few peoples comments and of course, stumbled upon your thoughts as well. Our Woodwinds product team saw the post and took it down as soon as it was observed. We have already spoken to the party involved and are determining how we will proceed.

Please accept our apologies and appreciate that you took the time to voice your opinion on your blog. If we can be of further service, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This morning I replied: 

Thank you for your email. It is reassuring to hear that D’Addario does not consider such a depiction appropriate to share, and unfortunate that your consultant did not recognise the image for what it was. On the other hand perhaps it is indicative of a generation unfamiliar with blackface and racism as a whole in the history of jazz - and your intern may have just thought it was a fun picture of a pumpkin playing a saxophone. Some education may be in order.

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