Actor Mahershala Ali shared a photo of the General Lee car from Dukes of Hazzard sitting smashed on its grill, and Instagram had some thoughts. The photo came from an art installation by Hank Willis Thomas, and it had clear implications about race in the United States. Ali's followers were divided over the piece.
Ali's photo showed a head-on view of Thomas' art installation, titled "An All Colored Cast." It showed the infamous General Lee jutting out of the ground, its grill crumpled by the impact and its trunk up in the air. From this angle, the Confederate flag on its hood was clear to see, as were the words "General Lee" painted beside it.
Ali's followers were intrigued by the picture, and they did not fail to notice that he had posted it just hours after Martin Luther King Jr. Day ended. Many assumed it was an indictment of the Confederate flag, and its representation in media.
"Now this sounds interesting," one person wrote.
"Interesting and much to say here," added another.
Based on the title, others imagined a version of Dukes of Hazzard with an African-American cast, and they were on board.
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"Wow... This I must see," someone wrote. "Bo, Luke, Daisy, Rosco and Boss... Black? Okay."
Still others thought the sculpture was an afront to a classic TV show, and they did not care for it. At the very least, they thought it was a waste of a perfectly good Dodge Charger.
"Ohhhh my... Folks are gonna flip," added another with a smirking emoji.
"F— dat rebel flag... BUT WHAT A WASTE OF A '69 Charger!!!" a third person wrote.0comments
Hank Willis Thomas is known for his work with big mediums and big themes. Hailing from New Jersey, he got his college education in New York City and has since done installations all over the country. He has a permanent, public sculpture at Th National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama and another in San Francisco.
Today, Thomas works as a college professor as well as an artist. The installation that Ali shared is currently on display at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery in Los Angeles, California. According to a review L.A. Weekly, it consists of "repurposed luxury and sports-brand advertisements as critiques on ownership and fetishization of black bodies, exposed more subtle but no less racists tropes encoded even in advertisements aimed at black consumers."