The backlash was swift and savage, and many people have taken to Twitter to criticize the clothing brand for totally missing the mark.
Forever 21 has since removed the offending photo and promotional posts, as well as the product itself. The company also issued the following response:
Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way.
That didn't stop people on social media from ripping the brand a new one. See some of the heated (and, at times, hilarious) backlash below.
Forever 21 deleted TF outta this! 😂😂😂😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/E67ElBuRem— Sob Marley (@JustInNotOut) December 18, 2018
Hey @Forever21, In What Universe Did You Think It Was Ok To Feature A White Model In Wakanda Gear? Granted, Chances Are You Knew It Wasn't Ok, But Still. As A Former #21Men Brand Specialist For The Company, I'm Highly Offended.— Mark-Paul (@WhoIsMarkPaul) December 18, 2018
Forever 21 knows exactly what they're doing with that ghost in the shell man in the african kitty sweater and here ya'll go given them the attention they want— cultured butter bae (@jilleeann_) December 18, 2018
Forever 21 actually did this and saw no issue with it. I love how they used the whitest, village of the damned kid-looking motherfucker as the model. LOL. pic.twitter.com/Hl9BVYPup7— Mercurypixel 🏳️🌈 (@mercurypixel) December 19, 2018
Forever 21 did what most mainstream retailers do when there is a catchphrase or popular slogan. They colonize it, repackage it and sell it back to Black folks. The fashion company debut its "Wakanda Forever" sweater. pic.twitter.com/V119rHQP0c— IG: RahiemShabazz (@rahiemshabazz) December 19, 2018
A Wakanda Forever Fair Isle knit sweater modeled by an Eminem lookalike just makes no sense whatsoever, and it's insulting. @Forever21 is canceled— felicia the critic (@felicianista) December 18, 2018
So @Forever21 removed the "Wakanda Forever" tweet, meanwhile on https://t.co/ECJpDYMBv8 they got white people in the official Black Panther merch, and a black guy in the bootleg. I mean....YIKES. pic.twitter.com/hGd2WYca9u— lissey (@lisa2bags) December 18, 2018