Willie Little, Artist and Storyteller

In the Hood... The New Age of Racism

Hood installation, 20 foot tall hood, 5 ft gold Mercedes Benz Medallion, clocks, 2014

They want to take America back?
From whom?
To where?
At what cost?

In the Hood exploits the KKK's symbol of racism in America.
According to Wikipedia, "the Ku Klux Klan informally known as the Klan or the "Hooded Order", is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically expressed through terrorism " such as lynching and cross burning.  In the 1860's members adopted white costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be outlandish and terrifying, and to hide their identities.
Through socio-political satire, the multimedia installation alludes to the irrationality of America's nouveau KKK (a vocal extreme right faction of the new Tea Party) and its rise to the mainstream with its shameless, divisive rhetoric and obsession with race, blame, and hyperbole.
In the Hood contrasts elements of the defiant, ever present, mocked, ridiculed, yet copied Hip Hop culture, with the phenomena of new emerging Tea Party. The farcical parody is the juxtaposition of this unlikely pair. The union weds the KKK with the very culture it may hate so much, thus becoming perhaps its metaphorical worst nightmare.

  • Elements to behold (besides the obvious 20 foot tall KKK hood and Gold leaf, diamond encrusted Mercedes Benz Medallion with over 43,000 6mm iridescent beads)
  • The Victorian inspired, bustled tea bagger gown adorned with over 1000 Black Tea bags. The Victorian bustle is said to be inspired by the Hottentot Venus.  
    Barely out of her teens, Sarah (Saartje) Baartman, was lured from her South African homeland to Europe on the false promises of riches and fame. Instead, she became an early 1800s freak show attraction. She was stripped of her clothing, dignity and even her name as she was put on display across Britain under the moniker "Hottentot Venus," wearing nothing but beads and ostrich feathers. Her enlarged buttocks, full breasts and supposedly elongated genitalia stood in stark contrast to the European feminine form and made her a spectacle. The English spectators stared, groped and mocked while later French doctors probed and prodded her anatomy as the subject of scientific and medical research. The young woman forever known as Hottentot was only 25 when she died, but the degradation didn't end. They extracted her brain, removed her skeleton, cut out her vagina and made a plaster of her naked form to exhibit in a Parisian museum for 160 years.

    "Hottentot Venus" is an iconic figure that helped feed the fascination with the black female physique and remains an everlasting symbol of the dehumanization of African features.

  • Minstrel dolls (black faced white dolls) incorporated in the scarf hang around the neck of the figure suggesting an Albatross weight or burden around the neck of the wearer. Similar dolls peek from the ruffled hem of the gown as they allude to the ubiquitous nature of and influence of black traditions on world culture, for example language, fashion and music.
  • (More Tea) Minstrel: In American history, minstrel shows were a form of entertainment that featured white performers in blackface. Generally, the performances were disparaging to black people, and the actors conformed to negative stereotypes associated with black Americans. Minstrel shows began in America sometime in the 1830's and continued to be performed in some parts of the U.S. until the 1950's
  • The antique gold French crystal Minstrel Doll wedding cake chandelier within the hood inspired by a 1909 Picaninny lithograph, called Black Birds. As they lounge, pose and preen inside and outside the chandelier, the dolls pose irony and satire.

The objective of this work is to encourage thought and consideration of these elements. How do the elements of this exhibit make you feel?
Do they make you feel happy?
The exhibit invites the viewer to cross over, to engage with one another as well as the work. It invites us to open our minds and our hearts and to seek our personal truth.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by a grant from the Pollock- Krasner Foundation.

No Tea, No Shade...
Multimedia Paintings

Urban Dictionary definitions:

No Tea No Shade
A phrase meaning:
I'm not trying to come for you or offend you, but this is what its really like.

All Tea No Shade
Tea is the meaning of gossip and shade is in the form of a diss.

A shortened version of "disrespect"
Why you be dissin' me? 

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