“Truth be told, I was the Queen long before the Queen Bee herself” – Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Crown resumes its proper place as a cultural icon.
This beautiful novel is about neighborhood, racism, civil rights, childhood and zombies. Original and unmissable.
In Imagine [Trayvon Martin], 2013, artist Adrian Piper confronts the murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin in a simple and arresting work
I debated whether to include these or not, but you know what? I am an important part of Basquiat’s visual legacy. Fake modesty doesn’t serve me well. You need to read these notebooks.
This documentary on Good Hair feels very personal to me as a Crown. Basquiat’s own famous dread’s approximated the shape of a crown – it sat unapologetically atop his head, demanding to be seen.
“In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage”, writes Ta-Nehisi Coates. If you read only one book about this week’s theme, make it Between the World and Me.
Life doesn’t frighten me. It also didn’t frighten Maya Angelou nor my creator Jean-Michel Basquiat.
When Beyonce meets needle point, two worlds collide. Fun and embedded with a poignant message (like yours truly) – embroidery was historically disregarded as an artistic medium because it was “women’s work”.
Pop Caven is made in the USA by Nigerian American sisters full of zest and style. I like this sweatshirt, which reminds me of the African Union’s travel warning for citizens of their member states travelling to the US – “beware of police brutality.”
THE MAJESTIC BASQUIAT CROWN CURATES!
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.