It started as a idea, sparked by the opening lines from my one of my homie ConsiderThis signature pieces “America is….fucked up I assume”. That whole piece is a remarkable glare at the ugliness that is America. While it is a beautiful, wondrous place it has a dark side so evil it of turn Darth Vader good. And those lines, though I’ve heard them countless times before stayed in my head. And on that night it sparked a image in my head that I said I’d eventually paint. And last night while listening to Nas “Untitled”, I finally decided to do it.
I think the first thing anyone is going to notice is the provocative image of a black man being hung by the Statue of Liberty, via a chain that has the words NIGGER on it. I’m sure millions of thoughts run through your head when you do look at it, I know when I finally stepped back after it was done I did. I wonder what people’s initial thoughts are?
The painting is called “2Roads 2 AmericanDreams”, and that center image isn’t the real story. It’s an outcome though, that happens daily in the midst of this story; it’s a reminder of what often times becomes the end of the journey for black people. Yet the real story is being told at the bottom of the painting, the two roads leading to the Stature of Liberty, which represents the “American Dream”.
One road comes from the Suburbs and is broad; the other is from the Ghetto and is narrow and twisted. I used these to places as a metaphor for not just white and blacks (even though the color choice suggest otherwise), but for poverty and wealth, the haves and have not’s. When you have money, or are better off, or in most cases white in America your road to the American Dream are a lot easier; broader. Where as if you’re from poverty, the ghettos, or ethnic your journey is harder, filled with twist and narrow. Yet the one thing both roads really have in common is that it’s over treacherous waters. Even if your road is easier it doesn’t mean its safe.
And for blacks, no matter which road you take the end result is even if you get success, love and all you wish for, America is still waiting to remind you that you’re a Nigger. “In America you’ll never be free” raps Nas on “Breathe” and it’s true. We call it the Land of the Free, but is it really? There is always this chain around our necks that is ready to be pulled as soon as you “fuck up”, even if it’s a minor thing. It’s funny cause the world of American is standing up by the hands of slaves (note the bottom of the painting) and yet if you bring that up its “reverse racism”. How can America be the land of the free when it’s built by slaves? As the man is hanging I also have the American flag waving in the air, and what’s sort of hard to tell is that the red strips drip, their dripping blood. Why, because America was built by blood.
Now don’t think me to be some radical, racist or deep thinker. I’m not. I just painted what seems to feel a like a reality. I’m not saying it’s the only reality, or that I don’t love America because I do. Yet it would be foolish of me not to express something when inspired. I’ll l end it with a quote from Jay-Z out of his book Decoded where he says :
"Artists can have greater access to reality; they can see patterns and details and connections that other people, distracted by the blur of life, might miss. Just sharing that truth can be a very powerful thing.