What do you do when you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something many have worked their entire lives to do? You receive an opportunity to rip the high-fashion runways of Milan with one of the most recognized luxury brands in the world. This open door may lead to a host of other potential opportunities that could catapult your career and your brand; however, there’s this one problem. You realize this big break clashes with some of your personal beliefs and values. What would you do? Would you remain silent in an effort to avoid destroying your potentially epic big break? Would you speak out? Would you take a stand?
This is what happened when Atlanta rapper Raury staged an unplanned protest during the Dolce & Gabbana runway show in Milan. The millennial-themed fashion show showcased, young, popular bloggers, YouTubers, influencers, and artists from around the world.
Dolce & Gabbana recently came under fire after dressing the 1st Lady. Melania Trump was decked out in D&G throughout here trip, including a $51,000 3d Coat. Many people across the world decided to protest the brand for standing by Trump and his administration. In an extremely petty response to the protests and criticisms, D&B decided to launch a campaign called, “Boycott Dolce & Gabbana”. The response included t-shirts, commercials, and an entire launch which basically mocked protesters who voiced their disdain for the brand supporting the Trumps.
“When I saw a commercial featuring the boycott T-shirt, and it looked playful and lighthearted—it was a joke. It was a troll. Me, as a young man from Stone Mountain, Georgia, the birthplace of the Klu Klux Klan, I really felt this mockery of boycotting. Who knows, if boycotts didn’t happen, if Rosa Parks and M.L.K. didn’t step up…who knows if I would even exist. Boycotting matters. Boycotting is real. “
Raury, after already agreeing to participate in the fashion show learned of this protest after he had already flew to Milan, practiced, received free clothing from D&B, and made lots of new friends while practicing for the fashion show. Before hitting the runway (24 hours before showtime), Raury was torn and did not know how to respond or what to do. In an interview with GQ, he explained how he experienced so much “confusion and fear”. In some ways, the 21 year-old believed that he and the other influencers were being used.
Then, it happened. Raury walked the runway and honored the terms of what he had agreed to. Then during the finale, he removed his Dolce and Gabbana hoodie to show the phrases, “PROTEST”, “GIVE ME FREEDOM”, and “I AM NOT YOUR SCAPEGOAT” written across his chest. Then, the young millennial rapper immediately disappeared, never joining the other models for any additional photo ops. Raury was offended that D&G was catering to millennials, but mocking protesting and thought their response to the protesters was very “un-millennial”.
As a young artist in the entertainment industry, Raury did what many people wouldn’t have dared to do. He went against the grain, stood for what he believed was right instead of following the status quo, and chose principles over popularity.
What would you have done?