How a Seattle Illustrator’s Guide “Big Wig” Ignited Controversy

When Pizza Hut introduced its June reads for its summer time literacy program—children can earn free pies for monitoring their reads—the inclusion of image ebook Big Wig made large waves. The story, dropped at life by Seattle illustrator Levi Hastings, follows a wonderful pink wig owned by budding queen B.B. Bedazzle. Wig brings confidence and inspiration to all the kids she lands upon earlier than returning to B.B. and claiming a prize on the Big Wig Ball. 

Conservative social media accounts attacked with an arsenal of Pizza Hut boycotts, demise threats despatched to writer Jonathan Hillman, and on-line opinions meant to plummet the ebook’s rankings. Hastings, nonetheless, has largely prevented the backlash. 

The illustrator watched from the digital sidelines in bewilderment because the tradition conflict over an image ebook performed out—though he “wasn’t particularly surprised” that Pizza Hut’s inclusion of Big Wig was met with such fervent vehemence. Instead, he says, he was buoyed by a preemptive outpouring of assist from Seattle neighbors. 

When he was first approached about illustrating the ebook, Hastings, who works with numerous publications and types (and has contributed to Seattle Met), was instantly hooked. Big Wig was the story he wished to learn as a toddler, he says. A visible Hastings created reveals predominant character B.B. Bedazzle’s bed room scattered with make-up, a robotic, dinosaur paraphernalia, a pink feather boa, and a soccer ball. It’s an outline of Hastings’s “ideal bedroom,” the one he needs he might have dressed up and performed with motion figures in as a younger boy rising up in rural, deeply non secular southern Idaho. 

While illustration of queer tradition in youngsters’s literature, like Big Wig, turns into extra mainstream, the backlash to one thing so simple as a bedtime story “reminds us how much work needs to be done to push back the rising tide of ignorance and bigotry,” Hastings asserts in a latest Instagram put up. 

As the Pizza Hut kerfuffle and political strikes in different states present, the inclusive Seattle bubble is an more and more uncommon house of relative security and assist for LGBTQ youth. And even a perceived secure haven like Seattle can’t danger dismissing it to dwell within the ignorant bliss of a liberal phantasm. Just not too long ago in uber-liberal Oakland, a public library’s storytime led by a neighborhood drag queen was disrupted by males carrying neo-fascist Proud Boys regalia and shouting homophobic and transphobic slurs. 

For now, Hastings fights for the following technology’s entry to inclusive literature. He’s even sprinkled signed copies of Big Wig into Little Free Libraries round Seattle for treasure-hunting younger readers. 

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