From these meetings, he selected Annette Daniels Taylor, Jillian Hanesworth, and Curtis Lovell as subjects for the mural, providing a new twist on Buffalo’s historic nickname. Adeyemi composed collages of these figures with objects of symbolic weight for people of the Black diaspora, such as cowrie shells and traditional masks, along with imagery inspired by the subjects’ dress, homes, and personas, to create an Afro-Futuristic vision for Buffalo.
Jillian Hanesworth was born and raised on the East Side of Buffalo, New York. She began writing at the age of 7, when she would write songs for her mother to sing in church. She took a break from writing to pursue a BA in criminal justice and law focusing on reform. In January of 2017, Hanesworth committed herself to social change through art. Thus began her poetry career. Since then, Hanesworth has performed over 200 times, in Buffalo, New York City, Baltimore, Toronto, and everywhere in between. She has let her passion lead her mission to empower listeners to take part in demanding and creating sustainable, systemic change. Hanesworth is the founder of Literary Freedom, LLC, an organization that promotes access to literature for communities of color as well as historically excluded communities. She is also a community activist and organizer and the first ever Poet Laureate of the City of Buffalo, after she spent 2 years advocating for the existence of the role. Hanesworth loves and lives for the community and exemplifies that in all that she does.