Old is New Again

For an artist, it's a great feeling to think that a work of art you've created might mean something to future generations.  It's a fantastic feeling when you have proof of it WHILE you're alive! 

Almost 40 years ago, Gilbert Young created a work of art called "He Ain't Heavy," showing a black man reaching down for another man's hand.  It meant something then, because our country was in the midst of re-defining what it meant to be 'black' as we came up out of the turbulence of the 60's.  Now here we are in 2017, again, living through turbulence and discovering what it means to be black.

A few weeks ago, we started getting phone calls from people telling us about a beautiful young woman, a superstar named Zendaya, who was on Instagram wearing a vintage shirt with Gilbert's artwork on it. 

Kadeem Hardision, the actor from the Cosby show spin-off "A Different World," was given that shirt decades ago to wear during an episode of the show. 

We didn't know much about Zendaya, but discovered she has a television show, she has millions of fans, and on her show the man who plays her dad happens to be Kadeem Hardison! She reported that she had "raided his closet". 

That shirt HAS to be almost 25 years old--I think older than Zendaya. 

Fast forward to this year when a  photo of her wearing the shirt got over a million "hits".  

We've read up on her to find that she has a social consciousness, a voice that she uses to bring attention to the plight of others, that she spends time raising funds for philanthropic endeavors, that she is not afraid to speak up to support a hero like Kaepernick.

Zendaya is representing the best of our youth. Gilbert is so proud that she chose to wear a shirt featuring an image that means so much to our family, and so much to others. Over the years, people have sent us many pic of their He Ain't Heavy tattoos!

"He Ain't Heavy" is the longest selling, most recognized image in ethnic art history.  The message behind the "He Ain't Heavy" image is this: no matter who you are or where you are in life, you are able to reach back to uplift someone else.

Gilbert is so proud and thankful there are young folk who "get it".  In fact, he's so proud that he's creating an updated version, a very graphic-style, simple silhouette of the image--black on a white background and white on a black background.  Look for tees coming soon!

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