Nikon South Africa Slammed for Nearly All-White List of New Influencers

Nikon South Africa is promising changes after sparking controversy with its latest roster of influencers. In a country in which over 75% of the population is Black and less than 9% is white, the group of new South Africans representing the brand featured just one Black photographer.

On July 24th, Nikon South Africa released a video introducing its new influencers to promote the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera in the country. The video was a teaser for a new campaign to share the influencers’ adventures and moments, and it prominently highlighted a series of white photographers on the roster. The only Black influencer, Austin Malema, appeared in the video mostly to say his name.

While the original video has been removed, it can still be seen at the 1-minute mark in this commentary made by LuiSpot:

People immediately took to social media to point out the new roster’s lack of racial diversity.

Some began calling for a boycott of Nikon with a #NoNikonOnSet hashtag.

The video racked up hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of angry comments before Nikon South African responded publishing a statement yesterday (and subsequently deleting the original video):

“We celebrate the power of creativity through imaging, embracing diverse ideas and differences among people and cultures,” Nikon writes. “We recognize that our recent influencer program launched in South Africa fell short of portraying these values that we commit ourselves to embody and project as a brand.

“To ensure we are better reflecting the incredible range of talent in South Africa, we are re-strategizing our initiatives and will be updating the program to introduce additional creators. We are committed to promoting the power of photography and videography as a tool across all societies and communities.”

Here’s a sampling of the social media response to this statement:

Camera companies have in recent days been taking steps to increase racial diversity in their ambassador programs. Nikon USA recently committed to “amplifying more Black voices” and then added two new Black photographers to its roster. Fujifilm is another company that has unveiled a plan to make its ambassador program more diverse and inclusive.

(via TechRadar and Fstoppers)

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