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Posted under: News

Black Artist Flies George Floyd's Final Words Across City Skies

Dallas-based artist Jammie Holmes had the last words of George Floyd flying in cities like New York, Miami and Dallas.

Popular artist Jammie Holmes brought a powerful art piece to the skies of American cities this weekend as a way to honor George Floyd.

Holmes, a Black artist from Dallas, had airplanes flying across multiple cities with banners carrying the final words of Floyd, who died after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes and killed him. 

In an interview with CNN, Holmes said Detroit and New York City had airplanes with banners saying "Please I can't breathe" and "They're going to kill me" while Los Angeles, Miami and Dallas had other banners that said "My stomach hurts," "My neck hurts" and "Everything hurts."

He shared photos of the artwork on Instagram with an accompanying caption explaining the project.

"In response to the recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, I initiated a public demonstration that extended across 5 cities on Saturday, May 30 between the hours of 11:30 AM and 9 PM EST," Holmes said. "Airplanes with banners presenting Floyd’s final words connected these places across the United States to support Minneapolis in a national protest against police brutality within the African American community."

"This presentation is an act of social conscience and protest meant to bring people together in their shared incense at the inhumane treatment of American citizens. The deployment of Floyd’s last words in parts of its whole across the country underlines a need for unity and the conviction that what happened to George Floyd is happening all over America," Holmes added. 






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In response to the recent murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police, I initiated a public demonstration that extended across 5 cities on Saturday, May 30 between the hours of 11:30 AM and 9 PM EST. Airplanes with banners presenting Floyd’s final words connected these places across the United States to support Minneapolis in a national protest against police brutality within the African American community.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ DETROIT: PLEASE I CAN’T BREATHE. ⁠⠀ MIAMI: MY STOMACH HURTS. ⁠⠀ DALLAS: MY NECK HURTS. ⁠⠀ LOS ANGELES: EVERYTHING HURTS. ⁠⠀ NEW YORK: THEY’RE GOING TO KILL ME.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ This presentation is an act of social conscience and protest meant to bring people together in their shared incense at the inhumane treatment of American citizens. The deployment of Floyd’s last words in parts of its whole across the country underlines a need for unity and the conviction that what happened to George Floyd is happening all over America.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Like countless silenced and fearful young black men, I have been the victim of police misconduct on a number of occasions in my life. At some point, they will realize they can’t kill us all.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Thank you to my gallery, Library Street Collective, for their generous support.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JammieHolmes #JHolmes @LibraryStreetCollective #LibraryStreetCollective⁠⠀ Photos by @hayden__scott, Andre De Aguilar, Mark LaBoyteaux, @ItsSlickRick, @suekwon_

A post shared by Jammie Holmes (@jholmes214) on


"Our mothers are burying us way too early. My fiancée shouldn't worry every time I'm headed out of the house on my own. Yes, I carry a pistol, Mr. Officer. I carry it to protect myself from you by any means necessary. At some point, you will realize you can't kill us all," Holmes said in a press release sent to CNN.

The project is designed to fill "a need for unity and the understanding that what happened to George Floyd is happening all over America," CNN reported. 

Holmes created the art project with the help of the Library Street Collective in Detroit. In its own post of the artwork on Instagram, the collective wrote that it was "proud to have supported Jammie in this crucial initiative.⁠"

Holmes is a well-known painter who has gained a legion of fans through his powerful paintings of Black people in the South. He is originally from Thibodaux, Louisiana, and has made dozens of gorgeous paintings depicting Black life in America. 

In a longer post on his personal website, Holmes explained why he chose airplane banners.

"The use of sky media to recount Floyd’s final words presents a contrast to the noise of digital media and employs a form of communication that is most often used by the privileged to announce sporting events, marriage proposals, or promote consumption," he wrote.

"It is rarely used for political or social purposes — to exercise free speech — because it is an outlet unavailable to the poor and marginalized. I hope that people will be reminded of the power we can have to be heard and that coming together behind a unified message is key for real change," Holmes added. 

Artists across the world have created public art based on Floyd's life and death. A painter in Idlib, Syria, inspired thousands with a powerful painting on a building that had recently been bombed.

In a phone interview with The New York Times, Holmes said his hometown of Thibodaux was the site of a white supremacist massacre in 1887 and that he wanted to use his art as a social justice platform. 

“Those bodies are buried under the houses that we lived in. That blood is in the soil, so that place hasn’t changed," Holmes said. 

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