“Neon Black 2 – Dark Isn’t Dangerous. It’s Vibrant” explores Black hair and identity
When pro basketball player Rod Benson retired in 2018, he turned his attention to another passion – his love of painting and fine art.
What he did not expect was for a moment of police brutality while visiting Las Vegas would influence his subject matter. Turning his pain into art, he created a show called “Neon Black” with a goal to show that brightness and color are integral parts of what it means to be black; that dark doesn’t have to mean dangerous.
Now three years later, after a year of protests, reflection on racial justice, and hosting art exhibits around Los Angeles, Rod is returning to Las Vegas, with a two-week art installation, “Neon Black 2” at The Herbert in Downtown Las Vegas.
With this new iteration, the basis is the same, but the art has changed. “I decided to focus this new show on black hair,” said Benson.
“Few things are a signal of the black experience more than our hair is. We love it. We hate it. We try to make it work in white spaces. We tie our identity to it. We have an entire community built around the barber and beauty shops. If we lose even a few strands along the way, the rest of the community will immediately tell us to cut it all or “come on home.”
The exhibit debuts at the Herbert (801 S. Main Street (@ Gass), Suite 130) Friday, July 2 from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. It will be free to the public and open daily (closed on Mondays) through Saturday, July 17. Learn more about the exhibit here.
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