As per a report on Pitchfork earlier today, the winners of this year’s Congressional Art Competition have been announced, and among them is a portrait of Kendrick Lamar — which, as the ‘Fork pointed out, means that a portrait of Lamar will hang in the US Capitol. It’s easy to be cynical, and certainly my first reaction upon hearing this particular news item was a bitter laugh and a snide comment about tokenism and empty symbolism amidst recent governmental regressions on every issue Kendrick Lamar’s music actually explores. But then, think about what a thrill this must be for the artist — a high school student from Pueblo, Colorado, by the name of Tiona Cordova. Her portrait, entitled “Utmost Appreciation,” is a really lovely painting, and it’s great that her work has received such recognition.
And shit, who knows, maybe one of the old white men or women in Congress might see the painting, wonder who the subject is, and be introduced to one of the most vital musicians from the country they’re supposed to be governing. (Or, perhaps, someone will tell Donald Trump that it’s Frederick Douglass, which’d be hilarious, if nothing else.) We can always hope, right?