Coretta Scott King’s relative despises new MLK statue, has crude comparison for it: $10m ‘wasted’

A massive bronze sculpture honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King was officially unveiled on Boston Common on Friday.

Titled The Embrace, the work was created by Washington State conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas. It’s his interpretation of a photo of the two taken the day King learned he’d received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

The $10 million sculpture is 20 feet tall and 40 feet wide WCVB TV.

The city of Boston is significant because that’s where King met his future wife. King received his doctorate from Boston University and Coretta Scott attended the New England Conservatory, WCVB reported: “One of the Kings’ first dates was at the Common, and the Parkman Bandstand was the last venue of the 1965 Freedom Rally.”

Images of the piece from different angles and the underlying photo can be seen in the tweets below.


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Many were surprised by the sculpture’s striking resemblance to a male genital organ.

One of the most outspoken critics was Coretta King’s cousin, Seneca Scott, who said so New York Post on Sunday: “The mainstream media … covered it like everything was fine because they were told they had to say that.”

“But when it came out, a little boy said, ‘That’s a penis!’ and everyone was like, ‘Yo, that’s a big ol’ dick, man,'” said Scott, who currently resides in Oakland, California.

“If you showed that statute to someone in the ‘Hood,’ they would have said, ‘No, absolutely not,'” he said.

Seneca blamed our “awakened” culture for the sculpture’s design, telling the Post, “The awakened algorithm is just broken, I don’t know what else to tell you.”


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“If you’ve gone through all of that and figured that out, something is wrong,” he said.

Seneca, who told the Post he doesn’t speak for the other family members, expressed his outrage at the sculpture in an essay titled “A Masturbatory ‘Homage’ to My Family” published by Compact magazinea political online publication.

He began: “I’m sure you’ve seen it by now. The new Boston sculpture honoring Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta Scott King looks more like a pair of hands embracing a hefty penis than a special moment shared by the iconic couple.

“Created by the organization Hug Boston, the sculpture has sparked insane jokes on Twitter, and rightly so. But it’s quite offensive to my family.”

He summed up his feelings by saying, “Tens of millions of dollars wasted creating a masturbatory metal tribute to my legendary family members – one of the greatest American families of all time.”

Seneca was not alone in his criticism. Below, journalist Michael Knowles reacts to the statue, which he says is “grotesque”. And he’s absolutely right.

Another Twitter user seems to ridicule the sculpture in the following tweet.

The United Kingdom Daily Mail reported that the sculpture was panned by art critics, with many wondering why the artist chose not to include heads and bodies. Former Guardian art critic Waldemar Januszczak said it was “a particularly bad memorial to Martin Luther King”.

One critic asked, “Were you really that scared to commission a full lifelike depiction?”

Another told the Daily Mail it was a “huge shame, maybe the concept was a lot better than the execution… it just looks… awful!”

In case anyone is curious, according to the Post, the sculpture was approved by the couple’s son, Martin Luther King III. Coretta Scott King’s relative despises new MLK statue, has crude comparison for it: $10m ‘wasted’

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