In 2015, Williams began a second series of paintings in response to the succession of reported killings and murders of unarmed African Americans, featuring an African American superhero named "The N-Word". Some of these paintings in this group make specific reference to Eric Garner, who on July 14, 2015 died from reckless actions committed by police officers in Staten Island. Garner was recorded on an eyewitness video saying eleven times "I can't breathe," prior to his losing consciousness. In Williams series, caricature is reserved for the perpetrator as white police officers are tranformed into pigs and fang-bearing vampires wielding phallic clubs and batons. Enter the N-Word, ostensibly a riff on the superhero figue popularized in comic books, television and film. As a hero, The N-Word is also a symbol - a living image that captures images. Garbed in the yellow and red of the familiar Kodak "K" logo that was discontinued in 2006, The N-Word is saying "I saw this and I see you." He captures images as an act of active, rather than passive witnessing. ... He harnesses the power of a negative word, summoned so often as a tool to degrade, and reverses it's meaning and use by redirecting it toward those who wield it.
In Williams paintings, the N-word itself is never written or spoken, it is felt, manifested as redistributed action. By not speaking the word, and re-purposing it against those who speak it, the bondage of its original and perverse meaning is transcended. Protest speech solidifies into direct action, as the disenfranchised, repeatedly told to wait their turn to speak, bypasses speech entirely and moves into militant measures. The N-Word is a timely hero in the age of the Black Lives Matter movement, when the force of the spoken pleas "Stop, don't shoot!" and "I can't breathe," have been transformed into direct, targeted action. The power of these words matter, and they have fueled a movement. - Ryan Standfest for The N-Word catalog, A Rotland Press Original