Video Picks: Hebru Brantley turns Chance the Rapper into a Superhero

If you’re a fan of Chance the Rapper then you’ll have seen this video. But what’s the story behind those animated goggles?

Search online for ‘Flyboy South Loop’ and you’ll find a similar looking character painted on the streets of Chicago. ‘Chi Boy’ is a mural by Hebru Brantley featuring the character Flyboy.

Brantley’s paintings and figurative characters are inspired by comic book heroes and pop culture icons. So what’s Flyboy’s background? Well he’s a kid who is fascinated by the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American military pilots who fought in World War II but got little to no credit at the time. You could say that Flyboy is Brantley’s way of re-dressing the balance by bringing more superheroes of colour into the world.


Video: Directed by Austin Vesely with animation by Hebru Brand Studios. Chance the Rapper becomes Flyboy in the animation created by Hebru Studios for the 'Angels' video. Is Chance the Rapper Chicago’s superhero? Well, maybe. The mural of Flyboy is certainly an important icon to people in the city and Brantley. It’s become his most popular character and he can count on Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj as collectors of his work.

Find out more about Hebru Brantley on his website


Take a look at any of these creatives – AfroCobra artists of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Litchenstein or Keith Haring and you’ll see how they are related to the ideas or visual approach of Brantley’s work. For some more up in the air inspiration check out Jake Sumner’s video of artist KAWS’ balloon made for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, courtesy of Nowness.


Check out KAWS’ exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park:

KAWS at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
KAWS: Companion at the Parade

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