MLK Statue Unveiling Leaves Millions Scratching Their Heads, Saying 'What's That?'

A new statue of MLK is unveiled on the Boston Common in Boston Friday. Credit: Amaka Ubaka

There was an unveiling of a 22-foot bronze sculpture called “The Embrace” honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King on the Boston Common on Friday. Having it in Boston was appropriate, since that was where the couple met.


But when the pictures and video of the unveiling went out on social media, I think it’s fair to say that the artwork was not received well–mostly because no one could figure out what it was supposed to depict. Now, it’s gone viral because of all the reactions.

The sculpture was supposed to be based on this picture of MLK hugging his wife, after he was told he won the Nobel Prize.

But somehow, something got lost in the translation and depending on what angle you looked at it from, it looked even worse.

I’m not even sure what that looks like there. I’m afraid to speculate, although others are not being as reticent as I am.


I went searching, trying to find a better angle. It doesn’t get much better, though.

This was probably the best angle and quite frankly, it was still weird.

By the way, this artwork cost $10 million. It was designed by Hank Willis Thomas, a “conceptual artist,” and MASS Design Group.


It’s a concept alright. I’m just not sure what concept the artist was trying to convey here. But if you can’t identify what the sculpture is without reading the written description under it, maybe there’s a problem. Maybe including some heads wouldn’t be a bad concept, to help identify what you’re trying to convey. Did heads cost another couple of million dollars? Were they skimping on the material?

Maybe it’s just me, I’m thinking that if you’re trying to honor MLK, what you put out there should say it in a way that is easy for all to pick up. If you need to explain it, you’ve missed the boat.


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