If there’s a “can’t make it up” hall of fame, this report warrants induction on a first-ballot, unanimous vote. Our “strange but true” tale began in Phoenix, Arizona, last summer, when artist Jeremie “Bacpac” Franko painted a George Floyd mural in downtown Phoenix to “start a conversation” about Floyd’s death while in police custody.
But after several acts of vandalism — which Franko repaired — and continuing complaints about the mural from residents, she finally gave up and painted over the mural on Friday.
The mural depicted Floyd’s face on a $20 bill, with the title: #the_price_of_black_lives.”
The $20 bill was in reference to the counterfeit bill Floyd allegedly used on May 25, 2020, prior to his arrest and death at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop who was recently convicted on counts of second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd’s murder.
This controversial George Floyd mural was defaced in Phoenix. Now it’s gone. Here’s why https://t.co/Ad9KoXsSEl
— azcentral (@azcentral) April 30, 2021
So that good intention didn’t quite turn out as Franko undoubtedly saw it in her mind when she painted the mural — and the story gets even more ridiculous.
As The Arizona Republic reported, some residents thought the mural was inappropriate from the very beginning. Kelvin West was one of those people. (emphasis mine)
“This is a mural designed by white people that celebrate white violence. It creates a space for black people to continue to be traumatized.
The mural got defaced, which created an opportunity for more black trauma.”
Hang on, a minute let’s “diagram” West’s train of thought, here.
So the mural was bad from day one because it was “designed by white people that celebrate white violence.”
Three questions: Why didn’t like-minded residents rise up en masse and demand the removal of the “white violence-celebrating” mural on day one?
Why would “white people that celebrate white violence” paint a mural in honor of Floyd?
If the mural was so “white violence-ish,” why haven’t Kelvin and others who share his views celebrated vandalism against the mural, versus seeing the vandalism as having “created an opportunity for [even] more black trauma”?
Then again, what do I know? I’m only a “white person that celebrates white violence” against black people. [sarc]
West continued to blast the mural, as transcribed by the Republic.
“The mural came out of nowhere. Not one Black person was involved in the making of this mural, putting it together or designing it.
“Oak Street is full of beautiful, well-thought-out murals but this mural is an absolute atrocious representation of White violence and an insult to black excellence.”
Franko told the publication she was only looking to provoke conversation, not controversy.
“Every time I do a mural, I want to start a conversation. I want people to say, ‘What does this mean?’
“This is about a story that we don’t hear, that these cops thought that ‘his guy [Floyd] deserves to be killed over an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill. This guy wasn’t hurting anybody.”
To me, it was the symbolism that that’s the price of a black life?
After the mural was damaged earlier this year, Franko restored it, adding a silhouette of herself holding a spray-paint can, as if to say, “You want to [damage] it again? I’m right here. I’m going to fix it,” according to the Republic.
But as the criticism continued, the mural in downtown Phoenix honoring George Floyd is no more — ironically canceled by people who not only honor his life but also condemn his death.
George Floyd mural depicting his face on $20 bill is removed by artist in Phoenix after defacement https://t.co/7HV4caQe57
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) May 1, 2021
And Franko? “I have to do what white people are not able to do very well,” she said, “and that is, give up the platform.”
With due respect to Jeremie Franko, she doesn’t speak for me — as a white person — nor most of my friends and family. I’m simply suggesting that a blanket statement about “white people” being a singular entity that doesn’t “give up the platform, very well” is somewhat “racist,” don’t you think, Jeremie?
I mean, you assigned a trait to millions of Americans — based solely on the color of their skin. Perhaps practicing what you preach might not be a bad idea.