The Neo-Black National Monument

February was an interesting month. This year.  Most years I barely acknowledge Black History Month, but when I do I celebrate it as Neo-Black History Month. Because of the neoliberalism that has overtaken this generation –the neoliberal subversion of black America. They do it through the art. They do it with the movies and TV. They do it with images weaponized against black people. Altering. Distorting. From the minstrel imagery of the 18th and 19th centuries to the super heroes of the 21st, as in the case of The Black Panther movie, with its insidious anti-black American subtext. They do it with  a supposed monument of reverence, replacing a historical black hero like Martin Luther King with a neoliberal clone in the MLK monument. They do it by having the neoliberal shill Barack Obama evoke and distort  the memory of Martin Luther King in his, ultimately empty, rhetoric. Obama’s Neo-Black legacy was immortalized with the unveiling of his official portrait mid February. This unveiling, interestingly enough,  highlighted a black artist who works in China and apparently uses Chinese labor to produce his paintings.

There is also a Chinese connection with the first Neo-Black national monument, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (opened August 22, 2011). It is extraordinary how King’s image has been manipulated, not only by this monument’s creator and by Obama, but by a militaristic US government that  reinterpreted his message of peace as justification for war.

This corporate imperialist  authoritarian takeover of  Dr. King’s image would culminate with the inauguration of the  patently propagandistic MLK memorial monument.

The artist that designed the monument is Chinese. It is very consistent with his previous work. And obviously the people who planned and funded the project knew the kind of monuments he has produced in the past and wanted the one to King to be similar.

Apparently they wanted an authoritarian image, which is the very antithesis of what King stood for. This is the essence of Neo-Black ideology: black images remade to support a neoliberal, imperialist, corporate insidiously white supremacist agenda.

An interesting monument, is it not? I have never thought it looked much like King. Except in a general sense.




The same basic features, but not quite identical. There is a lack of the minute modulations of form that capture the likeness of the individual. The forehead eyebrows and cheeks are not quite right. The fullness of the lips not properly contoured. The monument looks a little like King, in a generic “black men look alike” kind of way. The same basic facial type. But the sculptor has not captured the character of his subject. Interestingly enough the facial structure, the cheeks and eyes,  resembles more closely the actor who portrays King in the movie Selma.

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King in Selma

The actor, David Oyelowo , as King.

I have a theory about that. It’s a phenomenon that causes people of one race to think that people of another look alike. It’s because we are all more attuned to the subtle facial variations of those who are within our own sphere of social interactions, largely people of the same race. Generally speaking. And I think that accounts, to some degree, for this artist’s inability to accurately capture the likeness of his subject. He doesn’t have enough sensitivity to black facial features. As I say, it’s a type of face. And it sort of resembles King. But really, like those  comedic impersonators whose imitations are so bad you only know who they are impersonating because they tell you, if I didn’t know beforehand that this face represented Martin Luther King, I would not make the assumption.

Ironically the artist at one point had mocked up a better likeness of King, but apparently chose to go with the image that looked least like him.


Ed Jackson Jr., head architect of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial, explains changes to his sculpture Thursday. Photo: RICK McKAY, COX NEWSPAPERS

The image on the right looks more like King and is less stern in facial expression than the one they went with. Obviously the makers of this monument wanted a steely faced King with arms folded in an off putting way. Also the folded arms can be seen as a Masonic hand gesture.


Because, you know, these guys below are Masons and they are striking a deliberate pose. Because the arm folding in the King monument is so contrived I assume that the Masonic symbolism  is intentional. Signs and symbols are the elite’s way of controlling the minds of the masses.

[Conrad Murray on the left. The Mason that killed Michael Jackson.]




  1. Very nice breakdown! And you have a good eye. I see you caught that masonic pose. A friend brought that to my attention when the statue was unveiled. I think it went over mist people’s heads though. Good post!

    1. btw, Kushite Prince, I could use some more images of this masonic handsign if you know of any.

      1. Here’s a good website about hand signs.

      2. You’re welcome.

  2. went over mine.. almost. i asked princeray about it at the time. he didnt answer.

  3. Afrofem · · Reply

    Thanks, nomad. You brought up aspects about facial features and expression that eluded me.

    There are four things that bother me about the King statue:

    ➤ the white stone used for the sculpture, black stone would have been more effective in conveying King’s historical influence.

    ➤ the closed off pose. (King was a very genial and open person in life)

    ➤ the way the figure seems imprisoned in the stone base. It mirrors White attempts to trap King as a “dreamer” instead of a determined doer.

    ➤ the g#@*^$#!d Chinese connection. Like there are no Black sculptors in the USA! Not only did they use a Chinese sculptor, but also Chinese labor to erect the statue…in D.C. no less. Close to one on the greatest concentrations of Black folk in the country. Outrageous!

    1. is that right? chinese labor too? i agree. outrageous. i also agree about
      ‘the closed off pose’ and
      ‘the way the figure seems imprisoned in the stone’
      the symbolism is negative and deliberate.
      why isnt he on top of the mountain instead of being swallowed by it?

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