Things That Matter

This Philadelphia Old Navy Store Is Under Fire For Replacing Minority Workers With White Ones During A Taping Of ‘Queer Eye’

If we found out that a camera crew would be coming to my job to do some reality show filming, you best believe we’d be wearing our best digs, contured-up, and smiling ready to hear the words “Action!” Moments like these don’t come often, and even if you’re shy around a camera, everyone loves to be around a set, watching to see what goes on, and who knows, getting those first 15 minutes of fame. It all sounds fun, right? That’s what a group of young employees thought until they were completely robbed of this moment simply based on the color of their skin. 

A Latina posted a lengthy note on Facebook that detailed how a Netflix production crew was set to film “Queer Eye” at their Old Navy store in Philadelphia, only to be replaced during filming by white employees.  

Credit: Twitter/@Monae Alvarado

On Aug. 21, Monae Alvarado wrote that she and the rest of her diverse team at Old Navy in Philly worked really hard to make the store look perfect. She wanted her place of business to look good for the Netflix production crew and for the rest of the guys from the show. The trans-Latina said all the employees at the store of minorities, but the show is pretty diverse itself so she never thought the background people (her and her coworkers) would be an issue, but then it all changed the next day. 

“Today they brought all these workers from other stores around the region (West Chester, Mount Pocono, and Deptford NJ) and they were all white,” Alvarado wrote. “They had us standing in the back not to be seen while the other workers from another store get to work on our floor like it’s their store. The shade I tell you.” 

The next surprising thing is that her post went viral and then people on social media were livid, which is expected considering the context of the show.

Alvarado’s coworker also spoke out on the matter. “Our whole staff was whitewashed,” Marjorie Williams told the Philadelphia Enquirer. Williams has been at that Old Navy location for at least a year. “It was only me and two other black girls in the back. They just kept telling us to go back there, even though there was nothing to do.” As for who is to blame for bringing in white employees, she said she blames the store. “I believe it was the store. When it comes to production, they just want white people or light-skinned people to represent Old Navy.”

Netflix also blames the store. The production crew said they had nothing to do with the white employees taking over.

Credit: Instagram/@fabfivelove

“Queer Eye‘s hosts, producers, and crew had no knowledge or influence on Old Navy staffing choices while filming in a Philadelphia-based store this past week,” Netflix said, according to Newsweek. “While filming, production featured one female employee, an African American manager, who completed an on-camera styling consultation and also served as a point of contact for our crew.”

So Netflix is making it seem as if not that many Old Navy employees were part of the shoot anyway, and the ones that were there were not all white. But the harm was already done. 

Old Navy said they were not trying to whitewash anything. 

Credit: Instagram/@oldnavy

“At Old Navy, we celebrate the diversity of our teams and our customers and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging,” Old Navy said in a statement provided by Newsweek. “We were proud to work with The Queer Eye show to film at our store in Philadelphia and to feature our local store manager on camera.” They added, “We also worked with additional employees in the area to help ensure the store ran seamlessly for customers, as the location was open for business during filming, and we expect they may appear in background shots. These individuals are reflective of our diverse employee population. We would never select employees to participate – or not – based on race. That is completely inaccurate and against the values we stand for as a company.”

We certainly don’t buy that. Do you?

Old Navy is clearly to blame, and now Alvardo seems to be getting shafted at work because she was the one that made the initial post about what happened.

Alvardo told her followers that she went home crying after work because they had a meeting at her job to discuss what happened and they basically ignored her. “I am hurt that the regional managers came in today and called some of my coworkers off the floor to sit and talk with them about the issue while I was standing 10 feet away from them,” she wrote. ” I thought it was rude and disrespectful they didn’t include me in the discussions.” 

Alvardo said they did apologize to her and told her to join the meeting but she said the apology came too late because the meeting was basically over. “I overheard some of them said they don’t see it as racist, which I’m sure they don’t see it that way because they was not there but others did and did felt some way about it and saw it as racist.” She finished her post by saying, “Corporate doesn’t care about you.” Now we can certainly relate to that. 

READ: Queer Eye’s First Latina Client Who Opened Up About Not Speaking Spanish Starts New Skincare Routine

Watch This Little Dude Repeat His Adorable Self-Affirmations While Walking To School

Culture

Watch This Little Dude Repeat His Adorable Self-Affirmations While Walking To School

@yashar / Twitter

We all know what self-affirmations are. They are simple phrases we repeat to ourselves to undo negative thoughts or self-doubt that cna plague us or undermine our own goals. Self-affirmations can set us on a path that sets us up for success by keeping us accountable and positive through the ups and downs of life. One little boy seems to already know this and has gotten an early start on his own self-affirmations.

A young boy is going viral on Twitter for repeating his self-affirmations while walking to school.

Credit: @yashar / Twitter

“I am smart. I am blessed. I can do anything,” the little boy repeated as he walked to school. The simple, yet effective, practice of self-affirmations is scientifically proven to have a lasting, positive impact on a person’s mental well-being. So, it is safe to say that this little one is already off to a stronger start in life than most adults.

The video is encouraging people to start their own self-affirmation routines.

Credit: @maurametolove / Twitter

According to PositivePsychology.com, the act of self-affirmation is proven to manifest in a positive mental outlook on life. Self-affirmations let us take control of the global narrative we tell of ourselves and lets us be flexible and moral as we adapt to the ever-changing environment we are constantly in.

The video is striking an emotional chord with adults and children alike.

Credit: @Nors_Hussain / Twitter

It is never too early to start children on their path to positive thinking. There is a lot of stuff in the world that can hurt you and stunt your development. It is never a bad idea to get your own little ones started with positive self-affirmations and start the habit.

The overall cuteness level of the video is enough for some people to just celebrate.

One of the most important parts of the self-affirmation practice is the ability to create a more flexible and adapting self-identity. By creating this self-identity, it will keep you from thinking of yourself as one kind of person, such as a “writer” or “wife.” Being able to grow within yourself offers a freedom that can set you on whatever path you choose.

Some people on Twitter are even cosigning the little dude’s words to encourage him to keep going.

Keep it going, Ayaan. There is nothing that can stand in your way, little man. It is clear that you know that you are capable of doing anything you set yor mind to and that is one of life’s most valuable lessons. There are few things in this world more empowering than knowing you can do anything and letting yourself know that you can do anything.

Some people are even wanting to have their own kids now.

Credit: @HudsonRiverCroc / Twitter

While there is a movement in the millennial generation not to have children, Ayaan might be changing minds. Who doesn’t want a little dude who can show the world the power of self-affirmation? Maybe his own idea that he can do anything means he grows up to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

His positivity is inspiring other people to be more positive in their own lives.

Credit: @crookson1506 / Twitter

It’s exciting what someone else’s own enthusiasm can do for other people. Some people are really into listening to little dude celebrate his own pathway to positive thinking.

Some people are not being fooled by the little boy.

Kids are not for everyone. That is okay. However, it is easy to see how this video would make some people want to have a little self-affirming dude of their own.

Basically, some people are just falling in love with the kid.

Credit: @AllisonRFloyd/ Twitter

It’s hard not to fall in love with this little one. His words and attitude are so inspiring.

Way to go, Ayaan!

Keep up those self-affirmations. They will take you far.

READ: This Elementary School Held A Flash Mob Where Kids Dressed Up And Danced To Selena And Celia Cruz And I’m Crying At My Desk

Update: Bodycam Footage Of Texas Police Officers Leading A Black Man By A Rope Reveals They Knew It Would ‘Look Bad’

Things That Matter

Update: Bodycam Footage Of Texas Police Officers Leading A Black Man By A Rope Reveals They Knew It Would ‘Look Bad’

Two Gavelston, Texas police officers arrested 43-year-old Donald Neely on criminal trespassing 50 miles south-east of Houston. The officers are both white, while Neely is black, thus, a photograph of the two officers on horseback escorting Neely whose hands were tied with a rope, sparked public outrage. Civil Rights advocacy groups felt the picture echoed imagery from the Jim Crow era or Antebellum south. 

While the Gavelston police were quick to apologize and change their policies, protestors demanded the officers’ release their bodycam footage of the incident, which took place last August. 

Officers arrest Donald Neely on horseback.

In the absence of a police vehicle, two white officers led Neely by rope as they rode on horseback through the streets of Gavelston. Reports describe Neely as homeless and mentally ill after he was arrested for trespassing. When a photo of the incident began to circulate online, there was a national outcry with many believing it was needlessly degrading. 

The police department admitted the officers demonstrated “poor judgment” and would not arrest someone using this method again. 

Galveston’s police chief, Vernon Hale apologized calling the rope an, “unnecessary embarrassment.”

“We have immediately changed the policy to prevent the use of this technique and will review all mounted training and procedures for more appropriate methods,” Hale said. “We understand the negative perception of this action and believe it is most appropriate to cease the use of this technique.”

Donald Neely’s family reacts on Facebook. 

Imagine that you have a relative who is homeless and mentally ill… Imagine that YOU are aware that living on the…

Posted by Christin Neely on Monday, August 5, 2019

Donald Neely’s sister Christin Neely took to Facebook after the photos when viral. She shared her family’s story. Donald is mentally ill and became transient because of it. His family is still remarkably supportive and regularly searches for him when he goes missing. Fully aware that his unfortunate circumstances make him a target of law enforcement, it was no less traumatizing to discover how her brother had been arrested by seeing the viral photos.

“Imagine that you have a relative who is homeless and mentally ill… Imagine searching the streets of a city for days looking for your loved one, to no avail,” Christin wrote. “Just imagine for one second being one of his children who have been fatherless for years and your father isn’t incarcerated or dead. With all of that in mind, now imagine scrolling fb and seeing said loved one being escorted to jail on foot by 2 officers on horses, hands cuffed behind his back with a rope attached. In 2019???? He was treated like an animal paraded through the streets.”

After Christin’s post and viral outrage ensued, Hale issued an apology to Donald

“First and foremost I must apologize to Mr. Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment. Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgment in this instance and could have waited for a transport unit at the location of arrest,” Hale said. 

Civil Rights groups and protestors demand more action. 

Civil Rights advocacy groups were not completely satisfied with the way the arrest was handled, even if they did appreciate the police’s quick apology. However, no disciplinary action was taken with the two officers. 

“If it was a white man, he wouldn’t have been treated that way,” Leon Phillips, president of the Galveston Coalition for Justice, told the New York Times. “I guarantee there’s nothing in their rules that you can put a leash on a guy while you ride down the street on a horse.”

Phillips said that he grew up during segregation and the image made him emotional because during that time “people said and did whatever they wanted to,” to black folk. For Phillips, this incident was all too similar to many he had witnessed before. 

“This is 2019 and not 1819,” James Douglas, the president of Houston’s NAACP, told the Houston Chronicle. “I am happy to know that Chief Vernon [Hale] issued an apology and indicated that the act showed poor judgment, but it also shows poor training. Even though the chief indicated that the technique would be discontinued he failed to address the lack of respect demonstrated by the officers in the episode.”

Protestors get Gavelston police to release bodycam footage.

Protestors and advocates successfully got the Gavelston police to release bodycam footage of the incident. The two officers, Amanda Smith and Patrick Brosch each made their footage public. 

In the video, Brosch asks Smith if she should go get her truck, but Smith feared their sergeant did not want the officers to separate. 

“This is gonna look really bad,” Brosch says laughing, as they start escorting Donald Neely with the rope. “This is gonna look so bad. I’m glad you’re not embarrassed, Mr. Neely.” 

Police Chief Hale says that the report and footage will be used to determine if further action must be taken.