Illustrator Mary Engelbreit Gets Called Out For Her Anti-Racist, Michael Brown Anniversary Art, And Her Response Deserves All The Applause
Even if you don't know her name, you have probably seen Mary Engelbreit's art on greeting cards and children's books. But now the illustrator is making a name for herself for a different reason: being a proud white ally of #BlackLivesMatter. Engelbreit created anti-racist illustrations last year, and despite losing fans as a result, she re-posted her powerful work on the anniversary of Michael Brown's death at the hands of Ferguson police.
Engelbreit began her more than a 30-year career as an illustrator for greeting cards, parlaying her massive success into becoming a graphic artist for home goods, creating children's books, and launching her own magazine Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. Her famous work has earned her a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
So, yeah, Engelbreit has a platform, and she has chosen to use it. She designed and posted two illustrations in the aftermath of Michael Brown's death, which caused a bit of an uproar in Facebook comments from a subsection of her legion of fans. But this year, she did it again:
The first picture shows a newspaper with the headline "Hands Up! Don't Shoot." Normally, I know better than to wade into the comments section, but for the purpose of journalism, here are some of the comments Engelbreit received on her anti-racism illustrations, both recently and last year:
And then, a comments section in a BuzzFeed post showcasing Engelbreit became another ground for hate against the illustrator.
Luckily, from what I saw, the positive, pro-Engelbreit messages — both on Facebook and BuzzFeed — far out-shone the racist comments and the threats to stop buying her products. But the latter people? They don't bother Engelbreit, as she noted on her anniversary post:
Today, on the 1 year anniversary of his death, peaceful protests are being held across the country. This is my way of participating in those peaceful protests. If you'd like to leave this page and throw out all your ME items, be my guest. Just don't throw them AT people--- that would not be peaceful.
In a comment to BuzzFeed, Engelbreit stated that she believed the artwork "speaks for itself," but she did note:
There are no words to express how little I care if I lose every bigoted, racist, homophobic and/or sexist follower I have.
I think it's time to purchase a Mary Engelbreit print, don't you?