The Basquiat Crown curates Get in Formation

For The Culture Edit x Get in Formation we couldn’t think of a better (imaginary) curator than the majestic Crown from Basquiat’s paintings


Inviting a Curator this week was no mean feat. Who could bring the Culture x Get in Formation edit into focus with humour and style? The answer turned out to be that which was Queen before Queen Bee herself. An honorary member of ‘the hive’ and culture revolutionary in her own right, this week we selected the majestic crown painted by iconic American cultural icon Jean-Michel Basquiat as our imaginary Curator.

At once a symbol, a tool and a cultural reference – this is one Crown that has lost no majesty with time. In fact, if ever there was a time when it feels relevant and crucial to remember Basquiat’s crowning of his paintings, his subjects and himself, then this is it. Or at least this is a time, perhaps more than in other recent times, for guts, glory and unapologetic crowning. With police brutality taking mediatic centre stage in the USA, the zeitgeist finally seems more permeable to the indisputable fact that Black Lives Matter. This is a time to demand visibility or to make yourself an ally.

Basquiat’s Crown, a traditional symbol of majesty and authority, was shouting from the rooftops (and graffitied walls of New York’s Lower East Side) well before Beyoncé was making lemonade. So when Queen Bee stands up in her visual album, her lyrics defyant and dreadlocks swaying from the car window, we see a reference to the Crown Basquiat championed – brilliant, royal, rebellious, and demanding its rightful space and respect.