As the nation has been gripped by the aftermath of the contentious George Zimmerman trial for the killing of 17-year-old Florida teen Trayvon Martin, various sources on the web have attempted to voice their frustration and outrage in creative ways through social media.
One of the most recognizable pieces of art came from a member of the CHH community. Artist Nikkolas Smith created a poignant image of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a hoodie similar to the one that Martin wore the night he was killed. The dynamic symbolism of the past and present merging together to battle stereotypes has received thousands of retweets and reposts from common people and celebrities alike. Notably, veteran rapper/actor Common posted the picture on Instagram with the hashtag “#TwoMartins”. A plethora of media outlets have also run the image, including CNN, HLN, Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post. Though most people have praised the jarring visual, not all reaction has been positive. Dr. King’s niece Alveda King boldly asserted “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would very likely not wear a hoodie.” Regardless of the comments on the legitimacy of the picture, Nikkolas Smith’s artistry is clearly impossible to ignore. Smith, is an avid Christian Hip Hop listener and best known to those in the movement for creating animated promo videos for Lecrae, Swoope, Cole Brown and Derek Minor.
His comment on the controversy of his image? “The irony-many judge my art piece because of MLK’S exterior & not the content of his character. Healing comes in seeing that.”
So sound off, what does this picture communicate to you? What do you see?