Prada said in a statement Friday that the Pradamalia products depict "imaginary creatures not meant to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface". In a Facebook post, she described "shaking with anger".
A spokesperson with Prada Group, Prada's parent company, told CBS News in a statement Friday that they "abhor racist imagery" and will remove the characters in question - part of the designer's "Pradamalia" collection.
"History can not continue to repeat itself", she added.
Ezie said she felt Prada's response constituted the "same paltry excuses that we've heard throughout history about racist imagery", telling CNN affiliate WABC that Prada is "a multinational, multibillion dollar company". "Black America deserves better", the activist said. Prada also developed larger versions of the character to put on display in its Soho location.
Ezie is not the only one to point out the resemblance of the creature - part of the brand's "Pradamalia" collection - and the well-known coon caricatures popular in the early and mid-20th century.
In this context, it's surprising that Prada was not more sensitive to how this monkey trinket might be interpreted when it left Prada Labs and went out into the world. Or not thinking? Seriously from concept to manufacturing not a single person said, wait what?' wrote one.
In a statement, the designer brand said that it "abhors racist imagery" and denied knowledge of the connotations to the Sambo-esque cartoon figures popularised in the United States during the early 20th century Jim Crow era.
In particular, Ezie pointed out similarities between the Prada merchandise and some versions of the children's book "Little Black Sambo", whose illustrations were considered racist stereotypes of dark-skinned people.
In the United States, slave owners justified slavery by saying black people were genetically like monkeys.
Prada's website features "Pradamalia" characters, which sparked criticism for resembling blackface. After harsh backlash, the brand just announced its decision to pull the controversial products from stores. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation.
By this morning, word of the rising furor had reached the store in Manhattan where Chinyere saw the display.