Viral ‘Critical Race Theory’ painting created overnight fame for Detroit artist – Detroit Free Press – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Fame came abruptly for Detroit painter Jonathan Harris, whose viral “Critical Race Theory” painting went around the world in a matter of days in late 2021.

Social justice Facebook page The Other 98% shared the painting with its 6.5 million followers on Nov. 21 and, almost instantly, it was popping up on various social media platforms. The original Other 98% post racked up about 24,000 reactions, 2,000 comments and 11,000 shares.

The self-taught artist had only been painting for about a year.

In December, the Free Press told Harris’ story, and his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since.

“It’s been insane … but in a good way,” he said by phone last week. “People have been emailing me from all over the world, so many emails, every day – and messages on social media, too. I try to respond to each one individually, but it’s becoming so hard to do that, I just know I’m not going to be able to get to everyone.”

Galleries, museums, movie stars and politicians have contacted Harris, some with interest in his work, some simply to say that the “Critical Race Theory” piece resonated with them. Emails have come from people on multiple continents, in assorted non-English l


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