A Change.org petition has been circulated that criticizes Target for using a white model in an in-store billboard to promote its "Annie" clothing line, when the title role in the 2014 remake is played by African-American child actress Quvenzhané Willis. An online ad features three girls, one of whom is African-American. Titled "Remove the Target 'Annie' in-store ads and issue Quvenzhané Wallis an apology," the petition argues that using a white model is disrespectful not only to Willis but to the African-American community.
"Although Annie is a fictitious character, there has been a major uproar from protesters stating that they would not support the movie due to the star being African-American," The petition reads. "Is [this] the reason why Target maliciously hid Quvenzhané Wallis or refused to use an African-American girl to depict Annie in their ads?"
When casting for the remake of the 1982 classic movie "Annie" was announced, some people were not pleased that black child actress Quvenzhané Wallis -- never mind that she was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" -- would star as the traditionally redheaded orphan Annie. Some took to Twitter to complain in tweets alternately coy about why, citing it was simply their need to see a traditionally "ginger" actress play Annie, to unambiguously racist, with the use of racial slurs.
The petition's author L'Sean Rinique Shelton suggested that by using a white model wearing the iconic Annie dress in the in-store billboard ads, Target is reversing the progress of the movie's casting, asking, "Why do you feel that we are not enough to portray our beautiful images on your advertisements.... Gone are the days that African-Americans sang or read lines from behind the scenes while our counterparts lip synced and was viewed as the stars. Quvenzhané Wallis earned that role and we demand your respect." Shelton went on to write that "African-Americans' buying power" is projected to be $1.1 trillion by 2015.
The clothing line inspired by orphan Annie's clothes began selling at Target in November, and the sale ends the last week of 2014. Although Target did not indicate it had any intention of apologizing, Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, told CNN: "Girls from a variety of backgrounds were featured within the campaign, reflecting that anyone can embody the spirit and character of Annie."