The Influence of the Obama Tee
In November 4, 2008, after the news reported that Senator Barack Obama had won in that year’s most grueling presidential election, the United States of America finally had its first ever African American president, and the people celebrated so much, as now it signified something new for the nation. A time for a breath of fresh air has arrived and it signaled a new hope for the country.
But even before Barack had won that election, earlier, months before, the signal and beacon of change had started, and this was best symbolized by the Obama tee that had spread like wildfire among the democrats all over America. What started out as a simple campaign poster for Obama, designed by artist Shepard Fairey, of an image of Obama’s face while the colors were changed into red and blue with the word Hope below the face, had now become a portrait of what the people wanted to happen in America. It was put into more posters, and even paraphernalia, specifically the Obama tee, and people wore it and it became an iconic symbol of repressed freedom and hope, much like how Che Guevarra’s image in the 1960s became an icon for the generation and was printed in shirts, stickers and many other materials.
Power of Art in Society
The impact of this simple image was so grand, and the opposition took notice of it immediately and tried to break it before it even got out of control. They created parodies about it where the word hope was replaced with Hype, or even Nope. They recognized the danger that this word and iconic poster carried and sought all means to destroy it. But the funny thing was that this image reached across generations, whether it was the generation X or Generation Y and Generation Z.
The image conveyed a deep sentiment of the American people that change needed to happen, and it seemed that this upstart African-American Senator would be the one to carry that conviction and change, for the people were tired of traditional politics. They were tired of broken promises and maligned intentions of the US government.
People Speak Out In Anger
‘How about let the racism simmer down and give this black senator a shot at being the head of the state?’, they said. The image conveyed more than just an image. It represented what was fundamentally wrong with the nation who for years had actually put down its own people in favor of foreign relations. The hope that this American, but mixed heritage Senator, could bring about the thought that America is not only the nation of
White Americans, but all the other nationalities that have left their homelands and now served under the flag of the United States, including the African Americans themselves. It was the hope that America accepts the fact that they are the United States of many different cultures, many different nations, all living together now and working towards a common goal, towards the success of the future, and the preservation of the freedom that is America.