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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Uptown rocking chair art starts conversation around social justice
U.S. Bank commissions BLM initiative
Published Thursday, June 25, 2020 7:52 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Tyrice Adams and Zacchary McLean paint rocking chairs Thursday as part of a social justice initiative sponsored by US Bank.

Art continues to fuel the conversation around social justice in Charlotte.

Charlotte area natives Tyrice Adams and Zacchary McLean painted the A in the Black Lives Matter mural on South Tryon Street in Uptown between 3rd and 4th streets two weeks ago. Then U.S. Bank reached out to them as well as other artists involved in the project about painting rocking chairs to extend the conversation. The goal is to exhibit or auction the chairs for charity. Artists began painting Thursday, and will continue on June 26 and June 29-July 2 from 12-4 p.m.

“This was an opportunity for U.S. Bank to show our support of the local community,” said Ashley Cumberbatch, the consumer banking hub leader who oversees the U.S. Bank at 201 S. Tryon St. “By engaging the artists who delivered some of the letters of our Black Lives Matter mural, we are continuing to advocate for them to share their voice and artistic expression.”

Adams’ and McLean’s chairs reflect their love for anime, science fiction and action through a futuristic theme.

“We’re still going to spread a message of love and peace on the chairs,” said McLean, whose chair will reflect a home for nature as well.

Said Adams: “I’m having a lot of small worker robots build something greater [on the seat] and a giant city filled with small, cute worker robots on the chair.”

Their A in the Black Lives Matter mural features a black woman on one side and a black sheep on the other. At the top of the A reads, “After all the wool of a black sheep is just as warm.” The goal is to draw parallels between the societal views of a Black woman and a black sheep, and calling out how poorly African American women are treated.

“The black sheep is often looked at as odd or unwanted, and stereotyped as a bad thing,” McLean said. “We put the quote at the top, ‘after all the wool of a black sheep is just as warm,’ because it’s true. A black sheep is just as valuable or purposeful as any other sheep. We feel like the Black woman’s voice is the same. She goes through a lot. She’s unheard by both sides—not only people who are not her color, but men in her own race devalue her and treat her as odd and overlook her, too.”

Civil unrest spread across the world when George Floyd was killed on May 25 by a police officer who knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It also brought the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in her home by police on March 13 in Louisville, Kentucky to the forefront. One of the officers has been fired, but none of the three involved have been arrested.

“A lot of things get overlooked with Black women,” Adams said. “A perfect example is the Breonna Taylor situation. Her murderers are still on the loose.”

McLean feels that the companies and people of Charlotte are responding better than the government to the oppression of Black people.

“Everyone is showing that they love and they care for Black people, and they want equality,” McLean said. “It’s crazy to see how much they are pushing compared to government policy. Governments and police departments, they’re not budging an inch, but everyone is literally showing ‘you got this. You can do it. We love you. We support you.’ At the end of this, if we don’t get the laws passed, which God forbid, at least pop culture and companies will still be there for us.”

Companies are feeling the financial impact of expressing racist sentiments. CPI Security’s CEO Ken Gill’s racist remarks cost his company business with the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights, Charlotte Hornets, UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of South Carolina as well as removal of his name from the YMCA’s new Steele Creek facility.

“At this time, if you’re still racist, if you still hate certain people based on their skin color or their background—if you’re still prejudice, you’re going to fall behind, especially if you have a company right now,” McLean said.

Said Adams: “It has proven there is no space for that. None.”

List of artists and their Instagram handles: Dammit Wesley, @dammit_wesley; Dakotah Aiyanna, @dakotahaiyanna; Matthew Clayburn, @matthewclayburn; Abel Jackson, @artbyabel; Garrison Gist, @2gzandcountin; Owl & Arko, @owl.clt and @arko.clt; Kyle Mosher, @thekylemosher; Franklin Kernes, @fk.creative; Kiana Mui, @kmuii; Marcus Kiser, @marcus_kiser; Jason Woodberry, @jason_woodberry; Georgie Nakima, @gardenofjourney; Zacchary McLean, @part_t1m3; Tyrice Adams, @shin.tytsumaki;  Frankie Zombie, @frankie.zombie_; CHD:WCK!, @chdwckart; John Hairston, @jagolactus_; Dari Calamari, @daricalamari.



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