It’s no surprise that Eastern Senior High School student Akilah Johnson is on top of the world. The sophomore was recently announced the winner of Google’s national contest “Doodle 4 Google,” where students are able to re-imagine and illustrate the iconic Google homepage logo.
Akilah’s drawing, titled, “My Afrocentric Life,” was completed as part of this year's contest theme, “What makes me… me.” Her work uses pencil, crayons, and marker to illustrate a strong, young, Black woman who beautifully wears box braids. Other images include Black Lives Matter signs, an afro in front of a peace color wheel, and a female Black Power fist.
Although the doodle does incorporate some extremely powerful imagery, it does also include some very youthful and childlike drawings as well. When asked about her illustration, Akilah said she wanted to base the “picture off [her] lifestyle and what has made [her] into what [she is] today.” As a Washington, D.C., native, Akilah remembers specific art teachers that encouraged her to include topics of cultural relevancy in her work.
In addition to winning a $30,000 college scholarship, Akilah’s high school will receive a Google for Education grant of $50,000. The response from her high school has been overwhelmingly positive, and the school even held an assembly to celebrate her accomplishment when she was just announced as a finalist. Akilah will also be able to meet professional working artists during workshops at Google headquarters in California, so there is no doubt that this is only the beginning for this young artist.
(Photo: Akilah Johnson, Doodle 4 Google winner via Google 2016)