Believe It

Hank Willis Thomas interviewed by Emann Odufu for Office Magazine

'I first came across the work of visual artist Hank Willis Thomas reading a book called Who We Be: The Coloriza- tion of America by Jeff Chang. The year was 2013 and, at the time, I was a community organizer in my hometown of Newark, New Jersey. But I was beginning to find limitations to the impact traditional models of organizing could have in my community. It was the beginning of a personal renaissance where I revisited Black art and images as a tool for helping to mend the psychological effects of years of neglect and abandonment and the disenfranchisement of American urban communities and their inhabitants by the powers that be. The first piece by Hank that I can honestly say I really appreciated was Strange Fruit, 2013. In it, there’s a basketball player with a ball in hand hanging from a noose—an image that references the brutal history of lynching in America.' - Emann Odufu