Of all the places in the world, there is a statue of a Black man in the middle of New York City’s Times Square. The bronze monument is called “Rumors of War,” which stands at 27 feet high and 16 feet wide.
Kehinde Wiley is the artist of the statue, who is known for creating paintings, most notably his portrait of President Barrack Obama, which is housed in Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The statue features a young Black man with dreadlocks in a hoodie, ripped jeans, and rocking Kyrie Irving's signature Nike shoe riding a horse, symbolizing being a king and a warrior. Wiley said he wanted to send a message with the statue saying, "this too, is America." This was his way of showing inclusivity in a country where it seems to be forgotten.
Wiley, a Nigerian-American said "Rumors of War" was inspired by seeing a statue of J.E.B Stuart, who was a confederate general in a row of confederate monuments in Richmond, Va. He said, “I’m a Black man walking those streets. I’m looking up at those things that give me a sense of dread and fear. What does that feel like, physically, to walk a public space and to have your state, your country, your nation say, ‘This is what we stand by.’ No. We want more. We demand more. Today we say ‘yes’ to something that looks like us.”
The Rumors of War monument will be on display in NYC until December 1st. To tell the story of the statue, there will be 15 rotating ambassadors from Times Square Arts stationed by the monument everyday from 2-8pm. They will be holding critical conversations and act as docents for those who come to visit. After its time in NYC, the statue will take its official residence at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Arthur Ashe Boulevard in Richmond, Va.
We as Black people finally have something to look at and look up too, literally.