Drake has long been fond of honoring his friends and heroes with tattoos; in 2017, he adorned himself with portraits of Lil Wayne and Sade, he celebrated passing The Beatles’ Billboard milestones with an Abbey Road-themed addition in 2019, and who could ever forget that infamous Aaliyah body art he got done to signify his boyhood crush on the late singer? While fans questioned some of these considering his dubious connections to their subjects, his latest is one of his most personal, honoring the late designer Virgil Abloh.
Designed by Joaquin Ganga, who specializes in “microrealism,” the new forearm tattoo recreates a photo of Virgil at Paris Fashion Week in 2018, throwing a kite down the runway like a paper plane.
Drake’s tattoo is just the latest in a string of tributes to the designer, who passed away after a two-year battle with cancer in November this year. Before his passing, he was considered a pioneer in the world of fashion, holding the role of artistic director for Louis Vuitton since 2018 (he was the first Black person to do so). His own label, Off-White, was a favorite of hip-hop’s elite and saw him collaborating on controversial but popular designs with Nike. He was also an accomplished DJ and designed the cover for Pop Smoke’s posthumous debut album, Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon, although that assignment prompted much controversy as well.
Among the celebrities and musicians who honored Virgil after his death were his oldest collaborator and first major champion Kanye, Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean, Vic Mensa, LeBron James, and Tyler The Creator.