Over the weekend, I wrote about a new sculpture that was unveiled on the Bostom Common that was supposed to honor Dr. Martin Luther King for the holiday.
But when the $10 million sculpture was unveiled, the video posted by a local news reporter went viral as people tried to figure out what it was supposed to be. Almost 27 million have viewed the video.
BREAKING: The bronze sculpture called “The Embrace” honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King has just been unveiled on the Boston Common #7news #MLKWeekend #MLKDay2023 pic.twitter.com/IckphP15FL
— Amaka Ubaka (@AmakaUbakaTV) January 13, 2023
It was supposed to depict the moment that MLK embraced his wife, Coretta Scott King, after winning the Nobel Prize in 1964.
But because it didn’t show any heads and had weird views from different angles, that’s not what people were seeing when they looked at the sculpture. Seneca Scott, a cousin of Coretta Scott King, didn’t hold back with how much he disliked it.
“The mainstream media … was reporting on it like it was all beautiful, ’cause they were told they had to say that,” Seneca Scott, Coretta’s cousin, told The Post by phone Sunday, referring to the new artwork on the Boston Common.
“But then when it came out, a little boy pointed out — ‘That’s a penis!’ and everyone was like, ‘Yo, that’s a big old dong, man,’” said the 43-year-old Oakland, Calif. resident.
“If you had showed that statute to anyone in the ’hood, they’d have been like, ‘No, absolutely not.’ “
He wrote scornfully in Compact mag, “Ten million dollars were wasted to create a masturbatory metal homage to my legendary family members — one of the all-time greatest American families.”
Seneca Scott blamed “woke” culture for not getting what it looked like.
But Seneca told The Post, “The woke algorithm is just broke, I don’t know what else to tell you.
“If you went through all of that and that’s what you came up with, something’s wrong,” he said. [….]
“It’s doubly insulting to the black community, who still on average … too many of us are below the poverty line,” Scott said.
“You’re spending $10 million on a bronze statue without heads on it? Man, it’s a joke.”
Martin Luther King III approved the piece so presumably, he was okay with it. The artist Hank Willis Thomas said that “all representation is an abstraction” and that he hoped it allowed people to be open to “more dynamic and complex forms of representation” that don’t oversimplify a person or their legacy.
Maybe having heads would have “oversimplified” but at least it would have helped more people to get the sculpture, which is supposed to be the point of a statue honoring someone. If you can’t tell what it’s supposed to be without a chart, or it looks like a penis, maybe that’s not what you should be aiming for?
Scott had a good recommendation. He said that if you genuinely wanted to honor his famous relatives, go out and “do an [an act of service] that no one knows about.” Enough of that would probably be more transformative than a $10 million thing that no one understands.
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