The Google Doodle for Monday is refreshingly pro-black. It features a young black woman surrounded by colorful, affirming symbols of blackness, including a braid that spells out the word "Google."
A high school sophomore named Akilah Johnson from Washington, D.C., is the artist behind the stunning artwork which she titled "My Afrocentric Life." Her captivating work of art beat out about 100,000 student submissions and won Doodle 4 Google -- an annual competition by Google which allows kids to reimagine the tech company's logo for the chance to win a $30,000 college scholarship, a $50,000 education-technology grant for their school and a chance to have their work featured on the site's homepage.
This year, the contest asked participants to draw a doodle that answered the following question: "What makes me... me?"
"I grew up learning a lot about my history as an African-American. As I grew older, I realized that the black people that came before us has made us into what we are today, so of course I had to include them in my doodle," Johnson, who is the first African American to win the national competition, wrote in a blog.
In addition to the celebration of natural hair, the 15-year-old's drawing is full of powerful imagery which gives several nods to black historical figures (Nelson Mandela, Frederick Douglass, among others), symbols that link the black experience in the United States to Africa and demonstrations from the past and present that declare black lives matter.
Johnson, who's been painting since she was 7, said she worked on her project over her Thanksgiving break. The teen said art is just a hobby and she aspires to go into the criminal justice field one day.
Even if she never picks up a pencil again, Johnson's art has already made history and she said that now she has a found a new appreciation for art.
"Doodle 4 Google gave me an understanding of why art matters and why MY art matters -- it’s because it speaks to people," Johnson wrote. "No matter the differences we have, everyone is touched by all art in some way."