From Popeye & Mickey to Snoopy & Spongebob, I grew up in the 80’s & 90's glued to cartoons like most kids. I remember having He-Man birthday cakes, GI Joe action figures, Charlie Brown bed sheets & so much more. Cartoons were a huge deal for me & seeing each creation come to life helped shape my own creative, adolescent imagination.
While Saturday mornings served as major inspiration, something else always stood out. None of my childhood heroes looked like me. Cartoons lacked diversity. We had no black superheroes growing up, which is pretty crazy when you consider American animation developed out of minstrelsy. Cartoons have kept the aesthetic principles of minstrel shows alive to this day.
Fear of a Black Planet started as a playful celebration of my favorite cartoons, donning beautiful brown skin. Initially I planned to make each character a little more relatable to my experience but, as I started painting, it became apparent this would probably be their worst fear. They’d never want the black experience. This honest moment of reflection opened a much bigger dialogue and inspired everything you’ll experience in this collection.
FOBP marries my love for pop culture, animation & vibrant color, to a deeper dialogue about fear, race, disrupting the dominant narrative & the black experience in America. What are you afraid of?