ALEXANDRA BELL’S “COUNTERNARRATIVES”
Michael Brown Jr. was murdered. The circumstances that led former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson to fire multiple bullets into the 18-year-old are irrelevant. Yet the media dabbled in that gray area, continually questioning what crime Brown committed that made his life worth extinguishing. For artist Alexandra Bell, Brown’s unreasonable and unnecessary death is the only thing that matters. Her guerrilla project “Counternarratives”—currently erected in Crown Heights and Bedford-stuyvesant, two neighboring communities in Brooklyn—reimagines the New York Times’s controversial August 24, 2014, front-page story that deemed Brown “no angel.” One projected image shows Brown dressed for his high school graduation with the headline “A Teenager with Promise.” The other blacked-out newspaper image reads, “Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown.” That’s all that matters. Black teenagers shouldn’t have to prove they’re human enough to live, and Bell’s project captures that powerful truth.