The first black American president deserves a black artist and Kehinde Wiley is the man

Black history is getting a shade more visible

Barack Obama’s presidency might not have lifted black communities out of their struggles, but it certainly put a pep in their steps. The actualization of Martin Luther King’s dreams served as a confidence boost rippling through American society and manifested in the increased appreciation of black lives and ultimately, black artists. But perhaps now more ever, we can feel the direct influence of Obama’s presidency on black recognition with the appointment of Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald for the official Smithsonian portrait.

In line with the tradition that started with George H. Bush in 1993, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery commissions an artist to create a portrait of the president and the first lady after their tenure. Renowned New York artist, kehinde Wiley who you might remember from Jay Z’s artsy music video for “Picasso Baby” and has a reputation for his portraits of black men in the latest Hip-hop fashion will depict Barack Obama. While Baltimore artist, Amy Sherald will create the former American first lady, Michelle Obama’s portrait.

The portraits are expected to be unveiled in early 2018 and will enter the museum’s permanent collection. Black history is taking a brighter hue and we are here for it.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/kehindewiley

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