A mural by the artist who painted the official portrait of Michelle Obama was dedicated on Thursday, portraying not a famous face, but a Philadelphia teen who’s overcome personal challenges.
Amy Sherald might be best known for the painting of the former first lady , but her overall body of work represents everyday lives of black Americans.
So it’s fitting that the 6-story-tall mural called “Untitled” portrays Najee Spencer-Young, a 19-year-old high school student who has battled bullying and low self-esteem.
Sherald told the Philadelphia Inquirer she chose Spencer-Young as the subject after they met in January through a Mural Arts field trip to her studio. The teen was at first very quiet and pretending to be uninterested, she said, but when Sherald asked for volunteers, she popped right up for a photo shoot.
“After looking at the photos we took, I immediately knew she was the right model for this mural. I saw it as an opportunity to build her self-esteem as well as (that of) the other young girls that look like her,” she told the newspaper.
The mural depicts Spencer-Young in a black-and-white flower print trench coach and mustard yellow hat, looking confident and composed — and very imposing — against a bright blue background.
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Sasha Obama And Her Prom Date Broke The Internet
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I saw Sasha Obama trending and got scared but she just went to prom and served looks. pic.twitter.com/Ci52eHj8jl— we didn't do it, joe 👄 (@jPad) May 25, 2019
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I came to twitter ready to defend Sasha Obama like she was my daughter. It was only prom pics, but I’m still waiting for one of you to line-step. pic.twitter.com/cuid7Wqok4— Taron...(Pronounced Tuh-Ron) (@TeflonScribbles) May 25, 2019
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Me seeing Sasha Obama trending and learning that it's prom pics. Ya boy was ready to square up. pic.twitter.com/8AUFd0YcT5— 🌎 ALEX-STABLISHMENT🇺🇸 (@GBralta) May 25, 2019
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I saw Sasha Obama trending & was ready for war... but she just went to prom 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/qSmFEeuFCn— Teddy Brewski📬🏌🏿♂️🍺 (@Buzz_FlightYear) May 25, 2019
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Saw Sasha Obama trending and my fist automatically clenched up but it’s all good because she’s just growing up and served nothing but looks at prom pic.twitter.com/An4Cb9ioXW— lyss (@lyss_bear) May 25, 2019
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Thought somebody was dragging Sasha Obama but it’s all good! She is stunning for prom!! 😍👸🏽💅💃🏾👠 pic.twitter.com/TnKTITPX8Z— Senior Mama (@mama_senior) May 25, 2019
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My baby Sasha Obama out there going to prom pic.twitter.com/7rNBjXdYIo— 𝓐𝓷𝓭𝓲𝓮 (@andrea_kate_) May 25, 2019
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Between seeing Sasha Obama trending and then discovering that she went to prom I felt all of the emotions... pic.twitter.com/9DrcK3qSP7— MC Donut (@MC7Donna) May 25, 2019