The artwork for Meek Mill’s latest album has instigated a heavy conversation about art, expression, and perspective thanks to a viral video featuring a white man ranting about the cover’s promotional placement on a city bus.
For his latest album, Expensive Pain, Meek was inspired by the artwork of Nina Chanel Abney and used her piece which depicts him surrounded by three nude women as his cover. Abney, a Black female contemporary artist whose work dives into the exploration of race, gender, pop culture, and homophobia among other subjects, is widely acclaimed for her art drawing comparisons to icons such as Jean Michel Basquiat.
In promotion for the album, the cover was wrapped on a bus in Los Angeles, California. This bus caught the attention of an unnamed local who was positively livid about the artwork, filming himself alongside the bus. “What the f*** is this,” he yells while pointing to one part of the art that features a rather pink part of the human female anatomy as shown in the video obtained by TMZ. “Is this what you want Black women?” He then goes on to rant further, claiming that this is something little girls would see and be badly influenced by.
Not quite done, he then goes on to state that the checkered floor in the piece was “Masonic” and that it was somehow connected to the COVID-19 vaccine, shouting that everyone should “take your freaking mask off – learn about germ theory!!!” As if to provide some sort of reason to his madness, he claims that he’s originally from South Philly and would’ve supported Meek if not for all the imagery. Seriously.
The video garnered enough attention that it made the rounds through social media. After Dr. Boyce Watkins posted the imagery on Twitter asking if something like this should be displayed for view by the public including children, rapper and activist Killer Mike chimed in and declared: “It’s art. Absolutely. We as a society see naked humans in art in museums. We should also be cultured enough as adults & parents to have a convo about nudity & art with our children. I say this as a parent, rapper & a High Museum of ART Board member. Love & Respect Doc.”