Abdul Jabbar Gbajiamilla Says Abercrombie Fired Him Over His Corn Rows; Federal Discrimination Suit Heading To Court
If Hitler were alive today we're sure he'd prefer the master-race aesthetic of Abercrombie & Fitch. After all, this the company with models so pure as the driven snow (and, er, androgynous) that Mad TV dedicated an ongoing sketch to them, with an employment policy that allegedly prompted a 2005 racial discrimination settlement, and with clothing so insensitive that Asian-inspired t-shirts once prompted a boycott.
So you'd think that the purveyors of all-American wholesome preppiness and surf-poseur wear (via Hollister Co.) would have read the writing on the wall and toned down its perceived hostility toward the brown masses (particularly here in California, where brown is the new white). But no. LA Weekly has learned that a lawsuit against the company by an African American man who claims discrimination for having worn his hair in corn rows is moving forward this fall.
Los Angeles attorney Lisa Holder tells us her client, Abdul Jabbar Gbajiamilla, was fired from a San Diego Abercrombie location after he was told his corn rows did not meet company criteria for a "clean, natural, and classic" hair style.
Gbajiamilla filed suit in May and Holder says the discovery process (in which parties seek and present evidence to each other) is underway.
A statement from Gbajiamilla's attorneys claims that Abercrombie's human resources director testified "in a related proceeding" that the hair style doesn't meet the clean, natural and classic threshold. The director allegedly called corn rows "extreme" and "uncommon," according to the statement.
(Really? Has Abercrombie seen a women's mixed-martial arts bout lately?).
Gbajiamilla is bummed. He says, "I brought this lawsuit because I believe the United
States has come too far in regards to racial tolerance to now retreat. I should not be forced to conceal or tone down my God-given identity as a black person. There is nothing 'extreme' about being black."
We agree unless, of course, you think the President of the United States is "extreme." (We don't. Sorry).
Our question is, with all these allegations of racial discrimination of insensitivity, why to kids continue to buy this crap? This is supposed to be the most racially tolerant, integrated generation of all time, right. Act like it.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss LA Weekly's biggest stories.
- Super Bowl Weekend DUI Crackdown Starts Tonight
- Taxpayer-Backed Earthquake Warnings Go to Secret List of Private Companies
- El Niño Who? Summer-Like Conditions Are on the Way