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Banksy’s Follow Your Dreams piece appeared in the Chinatown district of Boston in May of 2010. The image displays a fatigued painter beside the painted words “Follow Your Dreams” in capital letters. The phrase becomes secondary to the word “Cancelled,” which is sprawled across the empowering message. Banksy gives the male painter a typical black and white color, while the initial words appear in a green tint. The word “Cancelled” is done in white capital letters housed by a red rectangle, resembling a stamp. The placement of this work on Essex Street, in the low-income district of Boston, gives the piece a deeper meaning, a commentary on class stratification.
Russell Tyrone Jones better known under his stage name Ol’ Dirty Bastard (or ODB), was an American rapper and occasional producer. He was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a rap group primarily from Staten Island, New York that first rose to mainstream prominence with their 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Jones was often noted for his trademark microphone techniques and his “outrageously profane, free-associative rhymes delivered in a distinctive half-rapped, half-sung style”. His stage name was derived from the 1980 martial arts film Ol’ Dirty and the Bastard (also called An Old Kung Fu Master, starring Simon “Ol’ Dirty” Yuen); Method Man articulated its relevance on track 5 of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), stating there was “no father to his style”.
Tiananmen Square , a large open city square located in the heart of Beijing in China. On June 5th 1989 , the morning after a truly horrific massacre, an event occured that has been widely recognised as a key moment in the 20th Century. A column of Type 59 tanks of the People’s Liberation Army were moving to exit the area via Chang’an Avenue. A long figure dressed in white and black and carrying two shopping bags stood defiantly in the middle of the road. The tank column halted. The lone individual signalled to the tanks with his bags. They waited, but the man would not budge. The lead tank then tried to drive around the man, who simply side stepped to move in front of the tank once again. After several more attempts to drive around, the man stepping into the tanks’ path every time, the column turned off their engines. The unidentified man then climbed onto the lead tank, and appeared to converse with a few crew members through several of the tanks ports and hatches. After he stepped down and away from the column , the commander of the lead vehicle appeared out of his cupola, and after a short pause the other tanks started their engines and began to roll forward again. No sooner had this happened, ‘tank man’ once again placed himself in front of the lead tank, resuming the stand off. Shortly after, two figures dressed in blue appeared and led the man away.
I’ve chosen to show the uncropped version of the picture here, as it shows just how long the tank column was, and how many tanks and soldiers were present. ‘Tank man’ is visible in the bottom left.
Dwight Errington Myers better known as Heavy D, was a Jamaican-born American rapper, record producer, singer, actor, and former leader of Heavy D & the Boyz, a hip hop group which included dancers/background vocalists. Heavy D & the Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records, with Heavy D as the frontman and only rapper. Eddie F was his business partner in the group, DJ, and one of the producers. The other two members, T-Roy and G-Wiz were the dancers. Their debut, Living Large, was released in 1987. The album was a commercial success; Big Tyme was a breakthrough that included four hits.
Shortly after his death, MC Hammer and others led tributes for Heavy D on Twitter. Hammer Tweeted: We had a lot of great times touring together. He had a heart of gold. He was a part of what’s good about the world.