A cousin of Coretta Scott King, the wife of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., slammed a new $10 million sculpture made in the couple’s honor, saying it “looked like a penis” from certain angles.
According to HuffPost, Seneca Scott, Scott King’s cousin, told several outlets that “The Embrace,” a sculpture unveiled on Friday (January 13) in Boston, was insulting to his family. The piece was inspired by a famous photo of the Kings hugging after the late civil rights icon found out he won the 1964 Nobel Peace prize and shows the pairs’ arms intertwined without their heads.
Scott told CNN that while the sculpture looks as it was intended from some angles, from other perspectives “it’s a stump that looked like a penis. That’s a joke.”
In Compact Mag, Scott described the sculpture of his cousin and King as “a pair of hands hugging a beefy penis.”
He also told the New York Post that the piece was “doubly insulting to the Black community.”
“The mainstream media … was reporting on it like it was all beautiful, ’cause they were told they had to say that,” Scott said. “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.’”
“If you had showed that … to anyone in the ’hood, they’d have been like, ‘No, absolutely not,’” he added.
Martin Luther King III, who approved the sculpture, told CNN he was “satisfied” with how “The Embrace” came out.
“I think that’s a huge representation of bringing people together,” King said. “I think the artist did a great job. I’m satisfied. Yeah, it didn’t have my mom and dad’s images, but it represents something that brings people together.”
The artist, Hank Willis Thomas, shared an explanation of the piece on his website.
“When we recognize that all storytelling is an abstraction, all representation is an abstraction, hopefully, it allows us to be open to more dynamic and complex forms of representation that don’t stick us to narrative that oversimplifies a person or their legacy,” Thomas wrote.
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