New Barack Obama Statue Includes a Surprise Dose of Black Girl Magic

Illustration for article titled New Barack Obama Statue Includes a Surprise Dose of Black Girl Magic
Photo: Marcelo del Pozo (Getty Images)

I’ve never spent a day of my life in South Dakota, but artist James Van Nuys just provided compelling incentive to do so.


On Saturday, the 64-year-old sculptor revealed the latest addition to Rapid City’s City of Presidents project—a life-size sculpture of our forever President Barack Obama.


KOTA reports that the bronze sculpture, which took about two years and over 500 hours to complete, will make its auspicious debut on Monday in the city’s downtown district. But unlike the rest of the sculptures that comprise the privately funded City of Presidents project, the group sought to ensure that the man who brought the Swag Surf to the White House lawn stood out among his presidential peers.

“One of us said, ‘This is boring. This is not going to have the wow factor,’” Dallerie Davis, the group’s co-founder, told CNN. “A man waving is not a showstopper.”

So what did they decide to do? Include a dose of Black Girl Magic by depicting the former president holding hands with his daughter Sasha.

This sculpture is Van Nuys’ fourth contribution to the project and was inspired by a photo of the family that was taken when Obama was first elected as president.


“I did like the photo that I saw of Obama walking on the stage in his first inaugural with his daughter, and I just thought that it was a nice feel-good kind of piece,” he told KOTA.

For tourists or Rapid City residents on the lookout for the statue, you’ll find President Obama holding down the corner of 4th and St. Joseph.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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Fun fact... Presidents’ Park used to be outdoors in the same area of South Dakota. Instead of life sized sculptures, it featured giant busts. Here I am in 2010 with President Obama’s bust as it sat on a flatbed trailer on its way to being installed.