for beautiful-ambition on tumblr...
((aint posted here in years))
that was a pretty popular image back in the 1980's and hundreds of variations existed - it was meant (and taken!) as a sign of unity between men and women in our struggles against white supremacy and patriarchy. art like this circulated within the black arts movement community during the late 1960's and 70's - it gained favor among the hip hop conscious crowd and symbolized the woman and child as the foundation for family with the man wrestling to keep the world from crashing down or simply trying to uplift their standing in the world. the imagery disappeared during the 1990's as message rap was systematically forced from radio playlists but it resurfaced in the early 2000's during the time when black identity politics was more individualized and progressive women and men began equating such imagery as an enforcement of the same old patriarchal system. such images are completely valid in modern context, but that was never the intent during the 80's. it was just the exploration of a concept at the time that was never seen in contemporary or mainstream media as the internet didnt exist and conversations about those images were simply seen in the political context of the time.
personally, i still admire the concept... i just hate that artwork all seemed cheesy. but there were other images that had both holding up the earth also. black history books and college t-shirts were flooded with such stuff (including my own artwork that i airbrushed at the time).