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Meet Kehinde Wiley, The Artist Known for Painting Rappers & Now Obama’s Presidential Portrait

The New York-based visual artist hand-picked by Barack Obama to paint his official presidential portrait for the Smithsonian is no newcomer to creating portraits of esteemed black figures, painting “portraitures” of iconic music artists like Michael JacksonNotorious B.I.G., and LL Cool J in the past.

Kehinde Wiley has recreated classic works of art, reimagining them with a modern, urban contemporary twist. “What I choose to do is to take people who happen to look like me — black and brown people all over the world, increasingly — and to allow them to occupy that field of power,” he told CNN. Below, we discovered 5 things to know about the 40-year-old LA native.

Thank you Mr. President.

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