“Protect Yo Heart”: The Story Behind the Viral Miami Street Art

Isabella Hewitt, Contents Editor

First introduced in 2009 by artist @uncuttart, the famous “Protect Yo HeART” stencil made its debut at the 2014 Art Basel at Miami’s Wynwood Walls. Serving as a trending hashtag and popular photo opportunity, the “Protect Yo Heart” (PYH) stencil symbolizes more than what is seen in an Instagram post. 

Seen in every major city across the United States and even overseas, PYH aims to inspire the prioritization of self-care and awareness of one’s heart health from a spiritual standpoint.

“I thought ‘Protect Yo Heart’ was a great way to introduce people to this concept of changing the way we love and the way we see each other, and that was the purpose of really thinking that these three words would change people’s lives. And after the first week of putting it out there and getting some response from the people that were running into it, I knew that that was the right thing and I just never stopped since,” UnCutt said. 

UnCutt Art does not only stand as the creator and founder of the “Protect Yo HeART” movement but also acts as a spiritual consultant that believes in connectivity and a lifestyle of love. 

So the lifestyle is kind of like putting yourself before anything. Putting your cells, putting your organs, putting those parts of you that we do not pay attention to at all. We think those are just meat and just parts of you, but these organs are alive,” UnCutt said. “They all carry a frequency that allows you to actually be here to have this conversation with me, so why wouldn’t we be so in awe over them every day?” 

The stencil, which has impacted many with its powerful message, has amassed over three million social media posts and one billion likes on Instagram with celebrities such as Madonna, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, Miranda Lambert and Paris Hilton recognizing and posting it.

Additionally, the campaign itself serves as inspiration for a healthy and balanced lifestyle of finding ground even in the midst of chaos.

“It has made a huge difference in the entire universe because every time you raise your frequency, every time you tap into your inner self, you are freeing and you are sending out some type of energy that the world gets to receive and the world gets to work with,” Uncutt said.  “So I know for a fact that every time somebody runs into the art, they share energy with the art, they take energy from the floor, and then they leave energy on the floor. So now the floor area where the art is has a very high vibration type of feel to it. So we are changing, we are doing a lot of big things.”

This thought-provoking street art not only promotes a positive message but supports a good cause: National “Protect Yo HeART” day. This was instituted by UncuttArt to commemorate a day of unity and self-love. Through a multitude of mediums, art has reached not only the United States but millions around the world. 

In 2020, UncuttArt launched the “Connect One Million Souls” Campaign. “Connect One Million Souls” is an interactive campaign that encourages individuals to wear “Protect Yo HeART” scarves to reflect their individuality and to express the power of community.

“Having this movement spread out nationwide is just another beautiful way of uniting a wide array of diverse people, bringing them together through one of the most important aspects of what makes life so special: Love… but more specifically love for yourself,” Miami Palmetto Senior High Creative Photography and Advanced Placement 2D Art & Design Teacher Katherine King said.