REO TOWN — Mila Lynn is using her art to give back to the community.
For Black History Month, she's using her paintbrush to showcase Black historical figures.
“My project is called Black is King and basically the point of this project is just to uplift and empower the community by displaying or painting Black figures in this colorful vibrant way with crowns on their heads," Lynn said.
The visual artist works out of REACH Art Studio in REO Town Lansing, a place where she used to go for summer camp.
At the beginning of the year, she painted a queen and a king piece for a client. Lynn said she got a lot of positive feedback on them.
“A bunch of people told me that they felt very empowered, and it made them happy to look at. Coming into Black History Month I wanted to replicate those feelings. And I just thought if I did it with historical people it would be even cooler,” Lynn said.
She's turning the paintings into playing cards and making them into collectibles. The originals will be for sale and she will also be making prints of them. Lynn says she will only be making 50 of them in order to make sure they are special.
So far she has painted Barack and Michelle Obama as the king and queen of diamonds, Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks as the king and queen of spades.
This week she's working on the king and queen of hearts, who will be Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin.
“Today is actually the anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s Murder,” Lynn said Friday.
“They just fit under that," she added. "They are like our babies you want to love them. It just goes with the hearts.”
She will wrap up the project with the clubs which will be Kobe Bryant and Kamala Harris. The original pieces will go for $2,500 and the prints will be $150 or $200 if they are framed.
Mila has also partnered with her friend Lorin Cumberbatch for a book drive. Cumberbatch is the founder and owner of Skin Studio 211 a spa that does pretty much everything. Cumberbatch says her services include barbering, hair, skincare, brows and lashes.
The duo is using 20% of their profits this month to buy books that show Black representation. So far, they have been able to buy 112 books from WeAreLit in Grand Rapids.
The inspiration for this book drive came from Cumberbatch's two-year-old son Kasey.
“I got some books from Target for him because it was Black History Month. I noticed that he didn’t have any books that showed himself in it, so I just got a couple...” Cumberbatch said. “It’s very important for them to get these types of books. My son really sees himself in all these books.”
The book drive will be held at The Fledge on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
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