Behind Hebru Brantley’s Phibby 🐸

One of my favourite Hebru Brantley characters is Phibby. I love how Phibby looks aesthetically but never much considered the deeper meaning behind the character. Recently the artist shed some light on what Phibby represents and I’ve been an even bigger fan since!
Phibby is Brantley’s further exploration into the identity of the ‘safe black man’. Referencing astronauts and space exploration as well as Kermit the Frog, the observer is able to look at Phibby’s childlike appearance with ease while surveying a deeper context. Phibby is seen experiencing a need to assimilate, specifically where black people are tasked with making others feel safe, even when there is no threat. His bright green helmet allows him to do this, masking himself from society by creating a more approachable external image. Phibby challenges the viewer to examine the necessity to sell oneself short in order to fit into the nature of the coloniser. Brantley addresses notions of how people of colour were rarely seen as the hero or the saviour, but instead would only gain favour by playing the part of satirical characters. Phibby is the personification of the safe zone for a black man, with his helmet serving as both a retreat as well as a shield.
Phibby has so many layers of meaning that I can’t wait to see it being explored further in Brantley’s art. For fellow lovers of Phibby we got some good news coming up soon! Who’s excited?! 👀

Collective Post - Behind Hebru Brantley’s Phibby 🐸
Collective Post - Behind Hebru Brantley’s Phibby 🐸
Collective Post - Behind Hebru Brantley’s Phibby 🐸

+4

@thegramcollection

Love the meaning and the asthetics. And the AA diamond dust print
7 months ago·
Collective Profile - @collectorcole

@collectorcole

Can't wait to see what's next!
7 months ago·
Collective Profile - @thelifeofkash

@thelifeofkash

Hebru never misses
7 months ago·