‘I Feel Like Hillz’ is the movement you didn’t know you needed
‘I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas’
For the past several weeks, Instagram feeds have been flooded by colorful stencils dotting Brooklyn sidewalks in support of our girl Hillary. The messages that accompany her profile vary, ranging from “Nasty Woman” to just an enthusiastic “Yaaaas.” But the point is always the same: Hillary Rodham Clinton is a force to be reckoned with.
I Feel Like Hillz was started by Molly Smith and Brandon Litman, a Williamsburg-based couple who combined their love for Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” with street art. The result is a movement that’s caught the eye of celebrities like Audrey Gelman and pretty much everyone else who’s strolled down Bedford Ave this fall.
“We wanted people to think about her in a different, empathetic way,” Smith explained. She runs the movement’s empathy-building merch project while Litman does the colorful stencils and wall art found throughout the neighborhood.
The idea came about during the primaries when Hillary was faced with a barrage of backlash, conspiracy theories and vitriol by Republicans and Bernie Bros alike. Smith was searching the web for TLOP merch when she started thinking about the “No More Parties In LA” lyric, “Every rumor you ever heard about me is true and legendary.”
“People were attacking her for things that I just thought were absurd,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘I wish she could just own it like Kanye.’ I wanted her to say, ‘I’m the one who’s making shit happen and I’m a boss — I’m a boss woman.'”
Litman had been adorning Williamsburg with stencils for a while before deciding to make a Hillary-shaped mark on the neighborhood in September. He’s previously stenciled Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Bowie on sidewalks, but Hillary is the face that grabbed the most attention.
“Our primary goal is to get her elected,” both Litman and Smith said, adding that the social media aspect of the project has been a great mobilizing tool for those in red states who might feel discouraged by their local political climate.
Right now, their merch includes stickers, shirts, hats, stencils and posters. The site also features a project with voters speaking about how they Feel Like Hillz, including resilience, drive and hope for the future.
In the likely event that Hillary takes the White House, the merch shop will stay open through the inauguration. Beyond that, Smith says the project could pivot to highlight other feminists or progressive causes.
“I think we’ve opened up a dialogue about sexist double standards,” Smith said of the project. “Moving forward, there will still be room for that.”