A group of protesters in New York successfully reclaimed a Forever 21 storefront and used it to promote the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to Gothamist, the collective known as Never 21 entered Forever 21’s Union Square location dressed as employees and replaced the mannequin outfits in the store window with t-shirts that read “Black Lives Matter.” The protesters also placed the tees on several racks and hung a banner on the second floor:

The Never 21 Project’s website, which mimics Forever 21’s white font and black and yellow color scheme, features mini-biographies of kids and teenagers who have lost their lives at the hands of the police, with emphasis on their ages: Aiyana Jones (7), Michael Brown (18), Tamir Rice (12), and Trayvon Martin (17).

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The banner and mannequins were up for 20 minutes before managers noticed and took it down. One organizer explained how they pulled it off:

“We planned for a long time, and practiced beforehand on mannequins. We had the shirts sized large so that they would be easy to slip on... No one paid attention to us.”

Another Never 21 member called their awareness stunt “shop gifting,” which is “the opposite of shoplifting.”

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The group also said their choice to do this at Forever 21 wasn’t personal. Their web site states:

This was not an attack on Forever 21. In actuality, it is an opportunity for the popular retail conglomerate to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Whether they choose to support our message or be against it, this will not stop us from making sure that these voices continue to be heard.

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A spokesperson for Forever 21 wouldn’t comment on the group’s above objective and told Jezebel, “Forever 21 is not associated with the Never 21 Project and had no prior knowledge of their public demonstration.”

Image via Vimeo


Contact the author at clover@jezebel.com.