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A Black Wall Street art exhibition comes to Brooklyn: Here’s how to pull up

Painter and filmmaker, Ajamu Kojo is debuting his solo exhibition titled BLACK WALL STREET: A CASE FOR REPARATIONS which is a tribute to the prolific Black Wall Street and remembrance of the horrific Tusla Oklahoma Race Massacre of 1921.


black wall street exhibition

After stumbling upon a video of Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, one of the last surviving residents of Black Wall Street, he took the time to do extensive research to learn about the people of Tusla.

He used his artistic creativity and filmmaker perspective to memorialize the people who made what is now revered as Black Wall Street. Kojo gathered some folks from his Brooklyn Community which included artists, lawyers, entrepreneurs to represent the characters in his pieces.

He designed the sets and wardrobes that appear in his paintings with Ola Akinmowo.

Black wall street painting
Photo courtesy: @ajamu

As young Black creatives, it’s important to recognize that we have always paved a way through. We were always able to build and grow. Even in the worst situations.

To think how an artist can connect themselves to a defying moment of history show how much we are not as far removed as we may think we are.

To know that people who survived that massacre still exist in 2021 is telling. This form of remembrance allows us to honor those of the past, those who’ve created our present, and those who have a promising future, whatever that may be. 

Things seem to be nothing but chaotic at this moment in time. Each day we are reminded of our mortality. Between the crumbling state of our world and constant changes in our environment, it makes sense that creatives would dive into histories to make sense of our existence today.

In 1921, Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District, known as Black Wall Street, was one of the most prosperous African-American communities in the United States.

Kojo’s approach to this piece of history showcases how important it is for our stories to be told. At the core, it’s a deep understanding that adversity is at every corner when you exist in a Black body. But still, we move and shake up the world. 

“Each portrait features a black tar-like drip in the outer edges of the panel; a  nod to the crude oil that was a source of much of the capital that was the bedrock of the community’s  success and is also a representation of the ominous events to come.”

Black art tells out stories in ways that leave an imprint on the hearts of the Black Community. The Greenwood Massacre is a story that is widely known among Black Americans. It’s a representation of what we could have been and how white supremacy always rears its ugly head to destroy the livelihood of Black Americans. 

Ajamu Kojo’s BLACK WALL STREET: A CASE FOR REPARATIONS is “a spiritually uplifting dedication to the wildly successful and hard-working men and women who built Black Wall Street.”

It showcases how creatives are able to honor what was the legacy of Black art in America. This remembrance of Black Wall Street, allows us to keep the spirit of resilience alive. Kojo’s vision is a reminder of who we are, where we come from, and where we stand to go. 

Ajamu Kojo’s Black Wall Street exhibition opening TBD. To RSVP or schedule a visit, email