Black History Month Google Doodle honors activist Audre Lorde

The newest Google Doodle celebrates the Black art past and present and it has writer, civil rights activist and feminist Audre Lorde in the spotlight.

Los Angeles-based guest artist Monica Ahanonu illustrated the portrait, which celebrates the self-described “Black, feminist, lesbian, mother, poet warrior.”

Ahanonu said in a “Behind the Doodle” video that she was excited to be contacted by the tech giant to create the portrait, which can be seen on on Feb. 18, which would have been Lorde’s 87th birthday.

“I like creating portraits specifically because they help learn about the lives and people that made an impact on a way that maybe they’re living today that they do not even realize,” she said in an explanation of her work.

Ahanonu’s Google Doodle incorporates many of the colors and patterns that Lorde wore. But as highly visual as the interactive graphic is, it’s also focused on Lorde’s core device: her words. The illustration includes a passage from her 1982 address, “Learning from the 60s,” which was delivered as part of the Malcolm X weekend celebration at Harvard University.

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives,” she said. “Our struggles are particular but we are not alone. What we must do is to commit ourselves to some future that can include each other. And to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities.”

Lorde, who was born in 1934 in New York City to immigrant parents from Barbados and Grenada, explained she wrote because “I am a warrior and my poetry is my weapon.”

“I’ve written as much as I have because I have a responsibility to do this work,” she said.

Ahanonu says she hopes people who see the doodle feel empowered and pushed to discuss their problems and discover their similarities with others instead of their differences.

“Today, Black artists capture global attention, and the dramatic rise in search interest for Black artists shows the demand for Black voices,” Google wrote in a blog post about the new virtual artwork.

For more on the Black History Month 2021 Google Doodle and other artwork commissioned for the annual celebration of the achievements and contributions of Black Americans, visit the Google Doodle blog.