Basquiat passed away in 1988 at only 27. By then he had already achieved a level of fame that few artists can hardly imagine, and no Black artist had achieved before him.
Walking catwalks, hanging with Andy Warhol, even dating Madonna. Overwhelmed by his own success and the paradox of Black celebrity, his art questioned:
What does it mean for a Black man to be the best boxer in the world, when society has already labelled you inherently violent?
What does it mean to be a Black artist in a world that barely sees you as human? Basquiat reckoned with the history of race and class, creating a body of work that is as radical politically, as it is stylistically.