When Alexander Wang released the video for his Spring 2013 ad campaign featuring Bon Qui Qui, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Bon Qui Qui, a character formerly on “MADtv,” played by Anjelah Johnson, was in full “ghetto girl” mode working in Alexander Wang’s swank boutique and yelling at his elite customers including Alessandra Ambrosio, A$AP Rocky, Shannan Click, Simon Doonan and Natasha Lyonne. Similar to her role on “MADtv” where she worked at “King Burger,” Bon Qui Qui is popping gum, rocking a two-tone weave and mouthing off at clients and her employer in the Gavin McIness-directed video. Most think her satirical caricature is hilarious and even brilliant, but not everyone is laughing.
The Frisky writes:
Bon Qui Qui is a stereotype of a sassy, back-talking Latina woman. […] I can’t help but feel uncomfortable watching this. Johnson’s caricature is the only representation of a woman of color in the video — she’s effectively the butt of the joke, and portrayed as an uncultured, unsophisticated, rude person. That seems pretty shitty to me. […]
In a 2010 New York Times profile, [Johnson] said: “Deep down inside, I’m really a black girl stuck in a Mexican girl’s body.” She then went on to mock an audience member’s disapproval of the Bon Qui Qui character: “Once I was doing Bon Qui Qui in Miami, and this black girl was in the audience and she yelled out, ‘That’s not funny!’ which was really funny because she sounded exactly like the character I was playing.” So, yeah.
To be sure, Bon Qui Qui’s character is rooted in stereotypes but is it offensive? Many disagree and believe it’s just innocent humor. Others think it offends a class of people as opposed to race or ethnicity.