The Biggest Colored Show On Earth

Incorporating popular sports figures and painting them in Blackface, the series questions the role of Black masculinity in today’s society.  An essential part of the project is that I literally create these minstrel characters by disfiguring them.  In our culture, these men are made to serve as symbolic tokens of the ‘noble savage’ and ‘violent avenger,’ an ironic tragedy my work aims to clarify. What is the culture that creates an atmosphere where outlandish buffoonery is acceptable and rewarded? Why do certain athletes find this minstrelsy an acceptable form of behavior? And why do we, as a society, applaud them? The spectacle of hero-worship is alive and well in 2010 and the commodification of the Black Body is its main staple.   By photographing these sculptures and enlarging them to nearly life size, I examine how Black masculinity is sold to the public.  For me, having served time as the “token” African-American male myself, I am interested in how people pack and unpack who I am and how I present myself in a culture somehow defined by these characters “like me.”