The painting of new Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason will be redone after a petition was started in protest of the image.
The painting, commissioned by Fant Smith, did not go over well with the school’s NAACP chapter who felt the mural reminded them of historically racist imagery.
“We realized it was reminiscent of the minstrelsy era in which black people’s skin was darkened and their lips were made whiter in order to exaggerate their race in order to put them in a sharp contrast with the white race,” said Akailah Jenkins, president of the Vanderbilt chapter of the NAACP.
“In the mural, his skin is black, not brown, and his lips are white. It doesn’t look like him.”
Cooper believes that the whole thing is a misunderstanding rooted in the photograph that he was given to complete the project. He believes his painting is an accurate depiction of that photograph.
Vanderbilt’s NAACP chapter said they reached out to Cooper twice about altering the mural, but he didn’t respond. They started the petition as a result.
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