Rapper T.I. calls for Gucci boycott following 'blackface' backlash

Rapper T.I. and Russell Simmons are urging fans to boycott Italian fashion house Gucci following the release of an insensitive clothing item that appears to poke fun at black people.

The Italian fashion house bosses came under fire after advertising a black knitted "balaclava jumper", which covers the lower half of the face and featured a red-lipped cutout around the mouth.

Many quickly took to social media to accuse the designers, led by creative director Alessandro Michele, of creating a product which resembles "blackface" - the controversial makeover white people adopt to look like black figures, and earlier this week (ends10Feb19) a spokesperson issued an apology and confirmed the item would be withdrawn from sale.

However, T.I. is not accepting the apology and insists he will no longer wear Gucci clothes or accessories.

"As a 7 figure/yr customer & long time supporter of your brand I must say...Y'all GOT US f**ked UP!!! APOLOGY NOT ACCEPTED!!!!," he writes on Instagram alongside the company's logo. "We ain't going for this "oops my bad I didn't mean to be racist and disrespectful towards your people" s**t (sic)...!!!

"We ALL GOTTA Stop buying, wearing, and supporting this piece of s**t company And ALL PIECE OF S**T COMPANIES UNTIL THEY LEARN TO RESPECT OUR DOLLARS & VALUE OUR BUSINESS...!!!! I Don't Give a F**k if I gotta wear (budget-friendly) Target brand s**t (sic).

Simmons, who is the founder of fashion labels Phat Farm and Baby Phat, is also echoing T.I.'s calls for a boycott.

"When are we gonna wake up take off the horrible DEAD ANIMAL s**t and the shiny c**p and realize where the true shine lives," he writes on Instagram. "Let's instead focus on the things that serve our community and really bring us happiness. F**k the fashion industry and the elitist backwards and hurtful mentality that it represents..."

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