And Just Like That, We Turned Pain Into Power

@homegirlbyCRM via Instagram screenshot

After seeing shots of the little boy in that heinous H&M shirt that declared him the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle,” I almost immediately began to see images of him remixed and reimagined. All day, new looks came down my timeline—not of this little boy in a shirt that degraded him, but with spinning crowns and the words “Coolest King in the World” (or “Coolest Kid in This Racist-Ass H&M Catalog”) on his chest.

It was obvious that that tone-deaf decision by the Swedish company was no match for a wall of black-boy joy.

True story: When my little one was about 3 years old, he was hospitalized in a suburban New York hospital for asthma. This (white) nurse on the floor kept calling him a “little monkey.”


She said it once. She said it again. I pulled her aside. I told her that I was offended and that under no circumstances was she ever to refer to my son as such again. She said she meant no harm. She said it just because he was active.

My face said, “Bitch, don’t try it.” Frankly, I thought she was trying to be “funny.” And I was having no parts of it. I gave her the side eye the entire rest of the time we were there, and she’s lucky I didn’t put a foot in her ass.

Moral of this story? You have to check the whites quickly. It’s probably better to deal with racism constructively. But don’t catch me on a bad day.

Anywho, herewith, all the beauty of this radiant child:


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About the author

Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.