Cardi B, Usher and Billie Eilish get creative for #SayHerName benefit auction

·3-min read

The #SayHerName campaign raises awareness about the often invisible names and stories of Afro-American women and girls who are, along with African-American men, the victims of police violence in the USA. More than five years since the campaign was launched by the African American Policy Forum, it is now the focus of an auction of artworks made by over 100 creative stars, from Cardi B and Usher to David Hockney. 

Over 100 stars have got creative for the  "Show Me the Signs" benefit exhibition and auction, creating protest signs that fight for change. Cardi B, Jim Carrey, George Condo, Billie Eilish, David Hockney, Bruno Mars, Camille Henrot and Nathaniel Mary Quinn have all made artworks for the sale, the proceeds of which go to the #SayHerName Mothers Network, run by the African American Policy Forum. 

Starting bids for the atworks range from US$1 for a cardboard sign made by the Haas Brothers -- which encourages potential buyers to "do more than bidding on a sign" -- to $20,000 for works by the American artists Rashid Johnson and Nancy Rubins. 

Many signs in the auction pay tribute to Breonna Taylor, an African-American medical worker who was killed as she lay sleeping by Louisville police officers in March this year. Aaron Fowler's sign, for example, is titled "Sorry Ms. Palmer" in reference to Breonna Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer. Canadian painter Carling Jackson created a colorful portrait of the 26-year-old. 

"We thank all of the participating artists who have shared their creative vision to stand for love and equal justice, and to support this important cause," Amanda Hunt, Director of Public
Programs and Creative Practice at Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles and member of the "Show Me
the Signs" Benefit Committee, said in a statement. "‘Show Me the Signs' brings the creative community together with a larger collective to protest police violence against Black women, support the families already impacted, and promote a better future for all."

Although the issue of police brutality towards African-American women was brought into the spotlight following the death of Breonna Taylor, such events often gain relatively little media coverage and the perpetrators rarely brought to justice. Since 2015, 48 Afro-American women have been killed by law enforcement officers in the USA, according to data from the Washington Post. During the same period, only two cases saw officers charged with manslaughter or murder. 

"Black women and girls do not fit the most accessible frames of anti-Black police violence, and because of that, it's difficult to tell their stories in a way that people recognize and remember," said in a statement Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, AAPF executive director and co-founder and founder of Say Her Name. "By working with the families of slain Black women, AAPF's #SayHerName campaign resists Black women's invisibility by telling their stories.

The "Show Me the Signs" benefit auction will take place in two parts. The first part will be held November 10-19 and the second part will be held November 21-30. All of the protest signs featured in the sale will also be exhibited until November 14 at the Blum & Poe gallery in Los Angeles.