Digital chromogenic print
Paper: 166.4 x 130.8 cm (65 1/2 x 51 1/2 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 2012.63
© Hank Willis Thomas
The Unbranded series encourages us to consider how advertising reinforces generalizations surrounding race, gender, and cultural identity.
Hank Willis Thomas chose 2 ads per year published in Ebony, a magazine aimed at African Americans, between 1968—the year Martin Luther King was assassinated—and 2008, the year Barack Obama was elected president. He subtracted all the branding information from the images and added titles, often satirical, to each image. The result is a four-decade survey of how advertisers thought African Americans wanted to see themselves.
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