Imagine being a young, beautiful and ambitious Black teenager on a mission to secure your own bag, only to be denied because you’re “too dark” — that’s exactly what 17-year-old Mali D’Janite said happened to her when she applied for a job at Necessary Clothing, located in the SoHo section of New York City.
ICYMI: The New York Post recently reported about Mali’s experience with colorism after the clothing store's manager, Samuel Osei, who is Black, allegedly denied her the job interview because of her rich melanin skin was “too dark.”
To give you insight, Mali is presently a student and in need of a job. With previous work experience in retail as a sales associate, she admits was drawn to one of her favorite stores.
“I’ve shopped at Necessary Clothing for years and have always loved their clothes,” Mali told BET exclusively. “I recently moved back to New York City after living in Phoenix with my mother for the last couple of years.”
Needless to say, she was in complete shock when she was told by the assistant manager, Natou Diallo, that the store manager said she was “too dark,” for the position.
“I was in shock and confused. I called my mother right away in tears. I’ve been discriminated against by Caucasians before, especially living in Phoenix and attending school with mostly Caucasians, but hearing it from a Black man, and an African at that, was horrific!”
The 30-year-old manager denied the report and stated to the New York Post, “She’s my sister, why should I do that?”
Feeling a bit disappointed after the incident, Mali knew that she could not let this happen to another person with beautiful brown melanin. The same day she filed a complaint with Necessary Clothing online.
Mali spoke with someone who promised to pass on the complaint to the owner of the brick and mortar store in New York. “I never heard from anyone,” she shares. “But the online store offered me a job at their LA location.”
While many may have seen this as a great opportunity, Mali has decided to stand her ground and politely declined the position. “I refuse to work for a racist brand.”
Mali praises her parents, Harry D’Janite and Niki Kuti, for her courage to speak out about the situation. “I just want my people to use their voice,” she shares. “Social media is a powerful tool in 2018, and we don’t have to tolerate racism nor it’s ugly child colorism. We can’t let companies get away with their racist hiring practices.”
The teenager finds herself extremely grateful for the amount of support that she has received from social media. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and mostly supportive. I’m thankful for the words of encouragement from everyone. It’s keeping me motivated to continue speaking out against this injustice.”
Kudos to you, Mali, for standing your ground in efforts to make sure it doesn’t’ happen to anyone else.
Sis is doing it for the culture! #BlackExcellence.
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