François wrote: "It’s essential that we have a conversation about this photograph from the @hm_kids campaign. Picture: Instagram

It was supposed to be an innocent online campaign on Swedish retailer H&M's behalf. But what followed was a massive backlash on social media. 

And it all started with celebrity hairstylist Vernon François posting a photo on Instagram from a recent H&M campaign ad that included a little black girl with her natural hair pulled into a ponytail. What got tweeps in their feelings is that her hair appeared to be unkempt and uncombed. Nevermind that the campaign pictures reflected a similar look with the other young models.

When posting the picture, François wrote: "It’s essential that we have a conversation about this photograph from the @hm_kids campaign.  Before I begin, I do not have the facts, nor have I seen any statement by #H&M or the team who worked on this. 

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It’s essential that we have a conversation about this photograph from the @hm_kids campaign.  Before I begin, I do not have the facts, nor have I seen any statement by #H&M or the team who worked on this. This post is just an assessment based on all my years of seeing situations like this happen time and time again.  And its got to stop. This beautiful young girl’s #kinky hair appears to have had very little to no attention yet all of her counterparts have clearly sat in front of someone who was more then capable of styling other hair textures. My heart breaks imagining yet another girl from my community sitting in front of a mirror being ignored by the team around her, left to her own devices because someone didn’t know how to handle her texture. As if that’s not bad enough…. Prior to this campaign appearing this photograph will have been seen and APPROVED by countless ‘professionals'. Lets say conservatively 50 people. It’s breathtaking to me that not one person looked at this shot and had the same reaction that the internet seems to be feeling since the campaign broke.  THAT IS AN ISSUE.  We must do better.  Our girls, our young women deserve better.  Let this be a moment of learning. #Education is key #wehavetodobetter #vernonfrancois #Ignorance #blackgirlmagic #allhairisgoodhair

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"This post is just an assessment based on all my years of seeing situations like this happen time and time again.  And its got to stop. This beautiful young girl’s #kinky hair appears to have had very little to no attention yet all of her counterparts have clearly sat in front of someone who was more then capable of styling other hair textures."

What followed was a slew of responses on social media platforms.



Instead of remaining silent, H&M released the following statement:

We are aware of the comments regarding one of our models for H&M Kids. We truly believe that all kids should be allowed to be kids. The school aged kids who model for us come to the photo studio in the afternoon after school and we aim for a natural look which reflects that.