After that happened I strung this piece together while being inspired by the music of Kendrick Lamar’s latest album To Pimp A Butterfly particularly Blacker The Berry, my illustration’s namesake.
Blacker The Berry
In the early stages of working on this one (above) which is presently complete, I named the save files as a working title, “Brainwash Education” in reference to religious indoctrination as well as Herge’s takes on cultures existing outside of Europe were often ignorant, backward and condescending – relics of colonialism and Imperialism.
I’ll be honest, I enjoyed those comics a fair bit, growing up. It still has a bit of nostalgic value to me but I obviously have tremendously different views now v.s. when I was a lot younger and unaware.
The source of my ripped images were from Tintin in the Congo – I wasn’t familiar with this one until maybe art school days – comic panels. The best bit to me was an image that really made me recount Rudyard [The Jungle Book] Kipling’s piece of droll poetry, daft even.. in support of imperialism.
Take up the White Man’s burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need
To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child
Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit
And work another’s gain
Take up the White Man’s burden—
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard—
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah slowly) to the light:
“Why brought ye us from bondage,
“Our loved Egyptian night?”
Take up the White Man’s burden-
Have done with childish days-
The lightly proffered laurel,
The easy, ungrudged praise.
Comes now, to search your manhood
Through all the thankless years,
Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom,
The judgment of your peers!
Fortunately there was a rebuttal..
Pile on the Black Man’s Burden.
‘Tis nearest at your door;
Why heed long bleeding Cuba,
or dark Hawaii’s shore?
Hail ye your fearless armies,
Which menace feeble folks
Who fight with clubs and arrows
and brook your rifle’s smoke.
Pile on the Black Man’s Burden
His wail with laughter drown
You’ve sealed the Red Man’s problem,
And will take up the Brown,
In vain ye seek to end it,
With bullets, blood or death
Better by far defend it
With honor’s holy breath.
… from one black American clergyman and editor H. T. Johnson published in April 1899.
The panel in question sits on her arm with a (Christian) mission, educating the proverbial “savage” and “teaching civility.”
Shame, guilt and so-called burdens tattooed on her skin – which reminds me, in Blacker The Berry K.Lamar suggests that he’s a hypocrite for being agitated when poc are murdered by whites but then conversely he charges that he may occasionally be thrilled to see one of his own murdered by another of his own, even when it’s for nothing at all.
I fret about the lack of representation for poc in various forms of media but I myself rarely represent woc in my own work, usually opting for a white model for my reference.
That’s some serious programming right there, I suppose.
So here it is, this is my month. My birth month that is and I share it with two legends who’s portraits I’d like to illustrate for Black History Month. Their birthday’s both fall in February also, two of these legends in question; Bob Marley was born on the 6th, while Frederick Douglass, was the 14th. I’d also like to look at World War I veteran and ex-professional English footballer for Tottenham Hotspur (1909–1911).
Finally, I’d like to also like to make mention of both Louis Armstrong who was a brilliant jazz musician and avid cannabis smoker/enthusiast. And Bert Williams (died February 25th 1922) who one might be regarded as one of the most significant figures in the history of American show business.
I have some other little works in progress relating to BHM scattered throughout the month on this blog so keep checking in for new content!