LGBTQ Black History Icons: Jean-Michel Basquiat
By Benjamin Adam
Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) was a Haitian-American artist who initially came to prominence as part of SAMO, an informal graffiti group who wrote enigmatic epigrams in Manhattan, NY’s Lower East Side. Friends with Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, Keith Haring and Madonna, Basquiat became central to the New York art (and club) scene. By the 1980s he was exhibiting his paintings in galleries and museums internationally, but he died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988. Basquiat’s works were often politically charged social commentaries that spoke to the struggles of racism and classism.