mixed media on birch panel
48" x 72"

The latest installment of the Plantation series bounces back with another ad campaign for the Jim Crow (J. Crow) apparel line. The line is was inspired by the many 'celebrity' clothing lines that are targeted toward fans and their slice of demographics. I wondered why racists didn't have a mainstream clothing line and that led to the J. Crow apparel concept.

One of the more controversial practices that is fairly or unfairly (depending on your perspective) covered by the press is that of white celebrity parents adopting black babies. There are those that interpret the motivation as a deep seated guilt complex rather than an act of love, compassion and validation of the so-called 'post-racial' society. Many see it as a manipulation of the press considering that black celebrities who adopt black children are rarely given equal exposure.

Regardless of your take, there is no doubt the discomfort is rooted in the memory of slavery. In slavery days, black babies were a thriving business. Strong slave women and men were labeled 'breeding stock' and forced to conceive to produce superior offspring that were used as laborers. Some women produced up to twenty for this purpose. Slave life was particularly hard and to replace their losses, women were expected to start having babies as early as thirteen and produce at least five by the age of twenty. Plantation owners promised women their freedom once they had produced fifteen children. Many slave owners purposely impregnated their female chattel (it wasn't considered rape because slaves weren't considered 'people' with rights, but property). One particular Virginia slave trader boasted that he had sold as many as 6,000 slave children in one year!

I found a wonderful article online that delved into the issue of black adoption by Hollywood celebrities. Article: Black Babies: Hollywood's Hottest Accessory?