If you have been under a rock you probably missed the amazing Google Doodle presented on Monday, created by Akilah Johnson.
This young lady is a sophomore at East Senior High School in Washington, D.C. She began drawing in the second grade; this is when she started to gain a deep connection to African heritage through her school and after school program. In terms of art to her it was just a hobby, something she does in her spare time. So, when she entered the Doodle 4 Google contest, which had about 100,000 student submissions, I’m sure she thought her chances were slim. But in all honesty, her doodle was not only pro-black but gave insight into her life, history and the things she has seen within the black community; in retrospect it could not have been overlooked, it spoke and continues to speak volumes. It was no surprise this young lady won the contest. With the win, she received a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 grant for her school and a trip to Google headquarters to meet Google Doodlers and several other prizes.
Now let’s move on to the amazing doodle:
The doodle is entitled “My AfroCentric Life”, which, in essence, describes who Akilah is and what makes her the individual she is today. The doodle features a long box braid that writes out the Google logo. It also features Black Lives Matter imagery, inspiration from the likes of Ruby Bridges, Nelson Mandela, Frederick Douglass and many others. In addition, she was able to encapsulate imagery which links black lives in the United States to Africa. She easily displayed knowledge about black history and culture through her colorful, eccentric portrayal of black hair, history and being at peace with knowing who she is, where she comes from and where she is going. Once Akilah is done with high school, she plans on studying criminal justice or business in college in hopes of becoming a CSI detective. She also has plans to open an arts and crafts studio for children.
When I saw the doodle and discovered the background knowledge behind the drawing, she made me proud to be a woman of color. She expressed black history from past to present which touched my heart to know that she understands where she comes from and how her culture is represented mainstream. It made me wish that I had girls like her in the media when I was growing up to serve as a role model. There are so many stories, told and untold, of girls of color being taught that they will never amount to anything worth applauding or receiving accomplishment. I even dealt with this as a young girl so I know things like this are still being said. But here you have a young girl making the bold statement of overachieving by being herself and sticking to her roots. We live in a generation fueled by media that displays women of color in a negative way. Instead of aspiring to be a stripper, baby momma or golddigger, little girls can look to Akilah. A young girl that celebrated black culture in her artwork and expressed the importance for creating space for diversity in the technical arts realm.
Let’s applaud this queen on her glorious achievement and continue to uplift, teach and guide our youth, adolescents and young adults down the path of positivity. Like Beyonce said, “Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation!”