Saturday, March 18, 2017

Kalief Browder

Portrait of Kalief Browder

Kalief was only 16 years old when he was picked up on the streets in Harlem; accused of stealing someone's backpack, even though he didn't have the backpack and was innocent. He maintained his innocence thru 3 years of being incarcerated at Riker's island, much of that time he was held in solitary confinement. Kalief was given the choice to plead guilty and be released on probation; but he stood up for his right to remain innocent because he was innocent. This is how the system gets it's hands on the youth, they set their bail too high and then essentially bribe them with their freedom in order to be released.
The essence of the problem is within the systemic racism that incarcerates black, native & latino youth at disproportionately higher rates. a full 80% of youth aged 16-17 are non-white. 
It is the vestiges of slavery which now exists within our prison industrial complex. Kids are indoctrinated into this life at an early age in the school to prison pipeline.

Kalief should have never been locked up in an adult prison. He ought never have been picked up at all for a crime he didn't commit. Being kept in solitary for over 2 years permanently damaged him emotionally. This led to his severe depression when he finally did get out of that hell. He was still in Hell because it was inside his head. He chose escape, tragically, through suicide.

much love to his family for the recent loss of their Mom Venida Browder. 

Today there are many in the same position that Kalief was in, still in solitary; still being held in adult prisons.

Please read more here: RAISE THE AGE NY

more articles here: 

more information in this pdf

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Illegal Appropriation of Street Artist's work by McDonald's Corp

I do not in any way condone the use of my artwork to sell McDonald's fast food. McDonald's corporation has a terrible history of labor abuses, has fought against their workers unionizing, has paid their workers a less than livable wage, has failed to protect workers from sexual harassment on the job, has promoted diabetes & obesity inducing food in low income areas & in ads that target children, has refused to discontinue the use of styrofoam in it's packaging despite enormous pressure from environmental groups, has contributed to the destruction of the Amazon's Rainforests... the list of grievances is quite long. The entirety of their corporation is diametrically at odds with my entire mission as a street artist to promote human rights & climate justice.

The mural that was used in this ad campaign was used without my permission or knowledge. The mural that was used was not painted as part of the Bushwick Collective but was a private commission. I own the rights to this mural and using it is a violation of my rights as an artist. The mural in question is a portrait of Ta'Kaiya Blaney, an Indigenous Youth Activist from the Sliammon Nation in so called British Columbia who also did not agree to have her image used to sell products that put people at risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

to read more of how messed up the McDonald's Corp is check out this comprehensive list: