DeRay Mckesson (b. 1985), a Bowdoin alumnus (Class of 2007) is an American civil rights activist, and one of the key figures in the Black Lives Matter Movement. He is also an inveterate user of Twitter as a platform for activism and advocacy, with some 270,000 tweets and a million followers to his name as of 2021, the year in which his alma mater will award him an honorary doctorate. His work around social justice, community organization, and police and community relations have won him praise as a strong voice for change.
Penetrating into the very nature of Mckesson’s outreach to the public, DuBois’s portrait combines an interview of Mr. Mckesson, using questions provided by students at Bowdoin, and shot on high-definition video by the artist, with the Twitter messages that have galvanized his supporters. By creating an edited database of topical clips, DuBois enables comments from Mckesson’s interview to reference similar themes from his social media archive, with his tweets appearing as a cloud of words on a second screen. Through this portrait of one of Bowdoin’s most significant recent alumni, DuBois addresses a critical moment in our struggle for racial equality in the 21st century and lays bare the structure and the content of the information that have helped mobilize efforts to promote opportunity and respect for all members of our increasingly diverse society.
Director of Photography: Aaron Henderson
Assistant Camera: Leslie Martinez
Assistant to the Director: Ayanna Seals
Production Assistant: LaJuné McMillan
Studio Assistant: Alessandra Urso
Special thanks to Ashely Bomboka ’16, President, Bowdoin African American Society, and to Daniel Mejia-Cruz, President, Bowdoin Student Government, for their work in compiling questions for DeRay Mckesson submitted by fellow Bowdoin students. Sincere thanks to each student who contributed to this effort.
Help us make our collections more accessible by providing keywords to describe this artwork. The BCMA uses the
Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus to
provide consistent keywords. Enter a keyword in the field below and you will be prompted with a list of possible matching AAT preferred terms.