Young Kings Project
The Young King Project was inspired by the H&M ad controversy that occurred at the beginning of 2018 in which H&M created an ad that featured an African American boy in a sweatshirt that read, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. Like many other graphic designers, our graphic designer E. Campbell, was asked to change the narrative that represented the boy in the ad. Rather than having him represent being the “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”, we decided to make him a Dream Chaser by adding one of our exclusive logos to the sweatshirt, we also added a crown to his head. It made us feel good to make our unique statement about the ad and depict the young model in a more positive light.
A few days later, a bigger idea came about based on the ability to create our own narrative for the negative ad. What if we asked a few friends to send us pictures of their sons and we transformed these children into kings? We could call it the “Young Kings” project. At first, it was thought that the project could be completed in one week based on the quick turn around for the H&M ad. After diving in to the project with a full head of steam, we realized that there would need to be more research on king attire, backgrounds and style. After weeks of creation, discussion and edits, The Young King Project is complete.
Every day, black men and boys are perceived as dangerous, violent, uneducated thugs that are up to no good. It is every day news to see our children in mug shots, as criminals and worse of all shot dead after another unexplained police incident.
The Young King Project endeavors to paint a different image of black boys. Each picture was the picture sent by a parent with no idea of what it would be used for. From that point, E. Campbell begins to create a new vision for the children and incorporating his own artistic creativity and graphic design mastery. E. Campbell used the inspiration of African Kings as well as European Kings to determine the armor, jewelry, crown and background allowing each image to be unique. The Young King Project is a statement to our boys and the world that if a picture is worth a thousand words, one of them should be KING.
a bigger idea came about based on the ability to create our own narrative for the negative ad. What if we asked a few friends to send us pictures of their sons and we transformed these children into kings?