Massai tribe not being treated fairly
If you have ever come across powerful colors and images of tribal Africa, you were mostly likely looking at inspiration on The Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania. They currently hold one of the most powerful images of tribal Africa, but sadly, they are not being recognized for their added value in todays famous designs.
The tribes’iconic vibrant brand has caused amusement all over the world and has reently been used by recognized brands to increase sales and give out original content. The problem is however, that the Maasai people aren’t getting any economic compensation for the inspiration they have given these brands. While big names in the fashion business like Louis Vuitton are selling billions of dollars on hats, shirts and even blankets based on the tribes’ colors and designs, almost 80% of the Maasai population living in Kenya and Tanzania are living below the poverty line.
How can they fight this case? It seems like an unjust battle since luxury brands have no trouble getting high cost lawyers and propaganda while the Maasai population can basically get enough money to live. Thankfully, a project called Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative (MIPI) has been created to protect signature Maasai style without a licensing agreement. They believe that “Just as Burberry has the right to copyright and trademark its signature check, so too the Maasai should be able to protect its traditional designs."
We wonder why the ethical standards of giving credit to the rightful inspiration isn’t working as it should , however, as more and more people are informed about what is going on, and along with the help of MIPI, we can only hope that they recive the correct retribution they deserve while others are monetizing on their culture. In fact, the MIPI has gone as far as to quantify that around 80 companies are currently using their image and because of this, the Maasai people should be recieving $10m in trademark fees. Hopefully, this issue can be solved and be treated fairly as soon as possible