Massive Black Lives Matter Mural Sparks Convo in Detroit

By Kenrya Rankin Sep 29, 2015

From the streets of Ferguson to Twitter to Democratic National Committee meetings, the Black Lives Matter movement is making its mark. Now, it graces the side of a nonprofit gallery in Detroit.

A new mural, created by artist Renda Writer, features the phrase “Black Lives Matter” written about 2,000 times in white text on a black background. The piece was commissioned by the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art.

But gallery owner George N’Namdi told The Huffington Post that the mural came close to saying “All Lives Matter. N’Namdi (who is black) and Writer (who is white) considered inserting the phrase in some areas, but ultimately rejected it out of concern that it would detract from the overall message.

“‘All Lives Matter’ really is a way of co-opting the Black Lives Matter movement,” N’Namdi said. “It really dawned on me, we’re talking about a movement here, we’re not talking about just a slogan. We’re talking about something we’re trying to change, and once you start diluting the movement and making it ‘All Lives Matter’ … What issue is ‘All Lives Matter’ confronting? None.” 

Writer agreed. “I am not really sure why people’s reaction to “Black Lives Matter” is “All Lives Matter”—it really makes no sense,” he told The Michigan Chronicle. “To be honest it is puzzling and offensive to act as if brutality and the lives of blacks haven’t been under attack as of late.”

There has been some pushback from those who take issue with the sentiment, but N’Namdi and Writer said the piece resonates because it is necessary. “I think ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a message of love,” Writer said. “This particular race needs a little more attention, a little more love.”

Get up close and personal with the mural via the time lapse video below.