A giant Afro hair pick with a clenched “black power” fist was unveiled in New Orleans on Friday in celebration of Juneteenth – the holiday paying tribute to the last American slaves being freed. However, the eyebrow-raising statue was widely panned online.
The 28-foot-tall hair pick weighing 7,000 pounds is titled “All Power to All People,” and was created by artist Hank Willis Thomas.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell – a Democrat – touted the hair pick statue as “breathtaking” on Twitter.
“As Juneteenth approaches, we celebrated with an unveiling in Lafayette Sq,” Cantrell tweeted. “This sculpture is very fitting for this time & place as we celebrate the freedoms that we have gained We know that it doesn’t come without struggles, fights, and protests for 200+ years.”
Cantrell said the city is spending $7.2 million to recognize “local black and brown artists,” and their artwork would be displayed around public buildings in New Orleans.
However, not everyone saw the gigantic hair pick as “breathtaking” in reactions on Twitter – including many black Americans.
“Fearless” host Jason Whitlock: “Imagine being mayor of a major city, spending money on a monument that depicts the accomplishments of black people, and deciding on a hair pick. They would recall a white mayor for demeaning us. Instead, we’ll shout ‘Yaass Queen’ and pretend nothing is wrong.”
Author Darrell B. Harrison: “Because we all know how important it was for my ancestors to keep their afros lookin’ tight during those ‘struggles, fights, and protests.'”
The Hodge Twins: “The best their artists could come up with is a Black Power hair pick sculpture. You can’t fix stupid.”
Singer Vinnie James: “These Democrats posed in front of a giant AFRO PICK? An AFRO PICK? This is how they celebrate the freedoms black people have gained? I’m in hell. Right?”
Writer Rod Dreher: “The City of New Orleans just unveiled a giant sculpture of an Afro pick. This is a joke, but it’s not supposed to be. How humiliating for a city that has given humanity so much great culture.”
Writer Ellen Carmichael: “As New Orleans’ infrastructure crumbles and innocent people are being gunned down daily, Mayor LaToya Cantrell unveils a giant ‘black power’ hair pick in historic Lafayette Square. Her awful leadership is absolutely devastating for those with a history and love for this city.”
Many online commentators noticed that the statue resembled the large Afro hair pick in the comedy movie “Spaceballs.”
Last week, Cantrell unveiled a “Peace Poll” that was sponsored in part by the Tupac Amur Shakur Foundation – an organization associated with the former rapper.