Gurmit Singh's daughter Gabrielle slams Forever21 for playing rap songs with lurid lyrics

American fashion chain Forever21's outlet at Somerset 313. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
American fashion chain Forever21's outlet at Somerset 313. -- PHOTO: ST FILE 
Actor Gurmit Singh's 17-year-old daughter Gabrielle in a YouTube video posted on her blog. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE  
Actor Gurmit Singh's 17-year-old daughter Gabrielle in a YouTube video posted on her blog. -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE  

SINGAPORE - An open letter criticising Forever21's in-store music written by actor Gurmit Singh's daughter, Gabrielle, has gone viral online.

The 17-year old wrote a post saying that she would be boycotting the American high-street brand, which has several stores here, for "blasting horribly misogynistic, uncensored, woman-shaming, woman-blaming lyrics".

The post first appeared about a week ago on blogging platform Tumblr. The post was subsequently shared by Gurmit on his Facebook page on Wednesday, and has since been shared closed to 1,300 times and has more than 7,000 "Likes".

In her post, Gabrielle explained that she had gone shopping with her mother and baby sister in the Forever21 outlet in Somerset 313, and the store was "blaring" songs with lyrics that were derogatory to women, such as, "half you b***hes like p***y too".

She said she initially dismissed this, but the songs got progressively "more derogative: more condoning of abuse towards women, more explicit in descriptions of sexual endeavours… more disgusting, if I can put it flatly", she wrote.

Gabrielle explained that she found this unacceptable because of Forever21 stores' target audience.

"If I stepped into a shop that had shaped its general brand image around fellatio and breasts, then I would understand the demand for this sort of music in that sort of shop," she wrote, before continuing: "The problem is that you guys are not that brand. You guys are a brand that caters to women. You are a store that 13-year-old girls frequent. You are a store that women can bring their children to. While I was shopping, I saw a woman, her husband and their two-year-old son. I saw a couple of girls no older than 14. You are that kind of store."

She added that the lyrics sub-consciously sent young girls the "damaging" message that they are "nothing but objects of men's desire".

The post has drawn a flurry of responses. Some netizens felt she was making a mountain out of a molehill, and felt she could have gone straight to speak to the store manager about the choice of music.

But many others agreed with her viewpoints and praised her courage in voicing out her opinions. Netizen Melissa Neo wrote: "I agree with this letter. For a store that is catered for womens' fashion, teen fashion and pre-teen fashion, although some might be too young to understand yet, it's not exactly appropriate nor common sense to play that kind of music. I wouldn't want my daughters hearing that even if they're too young to understand."

One apparent employee of Forever21 even apologised on behalf of the store, saying: "I just want to apologise once again for the ignorance from people in my store. Bless you all and I have directed this issue to my supervisor."

Gabrielle wrote that she has e-mailed her post to the store's management.

It appears that she has yet to receive a response, although it has been about a week. Her father Gurmit wrote on his Facebook page of her note: "Can someone pass this to person in charge in Forever21. The manager may feel free to contact me. I am waiting."

At about 10pm on Wednesday, Gurmit took down one of his posts on the incident, explaining that he had managed to get in touch with the store manager. "Thanks all for your opinions and sharing," he wrote.  

brynasim@sph.com.sg

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