New Orleans Mayor Tweets ‘Breathtaking’ Giant Black Fist Afro Comb Art Display For Juneteenth
Doug MacCash via NOLA

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell pulled the drapes off an art display of an oversized black fist afro comb on Friday in celebration of Juneteenth — the holiday commemorating the ending of U.S. slavery. 

Cantrell, who tweeted a series of photos of the display, called the artwork “breathtaking.”

“This sculpture is very fitting for this time & place as we celebrate the freedoms that we have gained,” Cantrell said on Twitter. “We know that it doesn’t come without struggles, fights, and protests for 200+ years.”

Cantrell said during the art display unveiling that the goal for this sculpture and future murals is to recognize and pay homage to “afro-centric hairstyles tied to afro-centric roots” that “only black men and black women can rock.” The clenched fist grooming tool became popular in black American culture after the civil rights era when influential community leaders had embraced their natural, unprocessed hair as part of their racial and cultural identity.

The artwork came into view after the city officials approved a $7.2 million bond in 2019 earmarked for public art, which Cantrell said would primarily fund local black and brown artists.

So far, the city has already purchased and displayed more than 60 pieces of artwork created by local black artists in front of public buildings, according to Cantrell.

However, black conservative commentators responded to Cantrell’s tweet by slamming the display propped in front of Gallier Hall— New Orleans’ former City Hall—in Lafayette Square.

“A 1970’s afro pick? #cringe,” Anthony Brian Logan, a conservative commentator, tweeted.

Barrington Martin II, the host of The Barrington Report, called the artwork “a joke” and “pathetic” in a tweet.

The enormous steel sculpture, dubbed “All Power to All People” by artist Hank Willis Thomas, stands 28 feet tall and weighs 7,000 pounds. 

“Public monuments have a higher charge now. They can celebrate a specific individual, or a group of people, but they should also invite a broader conversation about how a memorial can connect to the rest of the world and represent its people,” Thomas said in a statement.

Raising and clenching the fist became a salute and symbol for the Black Power movement during the 1960s, while the hair pick has styled black hair since the 20th century.  

The hair pick display, which is part of the “Monumental Tour,” a traveling exhibition with two other large-scale art pieces, will remain in New Orleans city square until July 12 before moving to the next destination.

In 2021, the U.S. Senate passed a bill declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday which Cantrell pushed New Orleans city officials to recognize immediately. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  New Orleans Mayor Tweets ‘Breathtaking’ Giant Black Fist Afro Comb Art Display For Juneteenth