After over a year of planning, artists and organizers have brought a block-long Black Lives Matter mural to life in Lynn, Massachusetts.
“I wanted it to be something that was very pop art and had a lot of color,” artist Jah’Nyah Spencer said.
Spencer is one of six different artists who created unique designs for the giant mural.
Her work is more than just bright colors. There’s a message behind her design.
“The shoe, the sneaker, it actually represents the need in the Black community to always show our worth through our fashion and through our appearances,” Spencer said.
“When I was younger, I got bullied by people because I couldn’t afford Jordans or Nike and if you didn’t have all the flyest fit than you weren’t cool,” she said. “And I always thought, ‘Shouldn’t your morals determine how you get treated?’ But sometimes that’s not always the case.”
The mural on Essex Street has been more than a year in the making. Carlos Prudencio and Damianny Garrido, the two teen organizers, pushed the city to make it happen. Now they hope the art prompts a deeper conversation.
“This in particular,” Prudencio said. “Because it has so much power behind is amazing. It hits. It hits a lot.”
And they wanted each artist to bring their own aesthetic and vision to the project.
“As you can see, they all have a different design and that was the whole purpose," Garrido said.
Artist Mike Aghawoha describes the mural as the "American flag, but in the colors of the pan-African flag" and hopes people who visit the mural will see the message behind it.
“I want them to keep realizing that Black lives do matter, you know? I think that’s really the message,” Aghawoha said. “This for me, my art is always about helping youth and trying to inspire.”