Artist News

“Problematic” Morrissey t-shirt disappears from sale

By | Published on Tuesday 21 March 2017


A new Morrissey t-shirt, which was at best questionable, appears to have been withdrawn from sale.

The shirt, unveiled on Morrissey website True To You earlier this month, featured the lyrics “I wear black on the outside cause black is how I feel on the inside” from the Smiths song ‘Unloveable’ over a picture of civil rights activist James Baldwin.

Reactions to the t-shirt ranged from confused to angry. Morrissey praised Baldwin in his autobiography – ‘Autobiography’ – but that doesn’t really answer any questions about the intent of the t-shirt design. Is Morrissey saying that he feels like a black man? Is he saying that Baldwin was depressed? And what does it say about you if you actually bought one of these and wore it?

Publisher Melville House, which published a collection of interviews with Baldwin in 2014, described the t-shirt as “a regrettable misfire of internet mash-up culture, in which the curated mingling of disparate words and images devalue one another, rather than enrich one another”.

The t-shirt had been on sale on Morrissey’s Mporium online store, but has now disappeared. It had also been announced that it would be on sale at his upcoming shows in the US and Mexico. It’s not clear if that will still happen. No statement on the matter is yet forthcoming.