Creator of Beautiful In Every Shade™ Delivers Lecture at Bucknell University

Creator of Beautiful in Every Shade™, Carlton Mackey spoke today in the Elaine Langone Center Gallery Theater on the campus of Bucknell University as part of the Griot Institute for Africana Studies and the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity & Gender spring 2016 series

This lecture series, "Honoring the Legacy of James Baldwin / African-American Art, Activism & Aesthetics," is rooted in questions about the intersections of identity, race, gender, sexuality, aesthetics, and activism as they affect and inform a wide range of African American artistic and cultural expressions. 

His talk focused on employing the life and legacy of African-American poet, playwright, author and activist James Baldwin, as a way to consider the questions surrounding the intersections of African-American art, activism and aesthetics. 

Mackey also discussed his personal sense of the ways that African-American artists engage questions of aesthetic excellence and concerns about social justice. 

He tied the focus of the lecture series to his work with D. Abbott Turner Program in Ethics & Servant Leadership at Emory University as well as his project "50 Shades of Black," one of the signature projects under Beautiful in Every Shade, which explores the intersection and complexities of skin color, sexuality and black identity using multiple forms of artistry such as essays, poems, photographs, personal narratives and paintings. 

To read more about Mackey's talk and the lecture series, click here

Reflections on Ferguson: United We Fight

Under the "United We Fight" banner, a broad coalition of community groups and organizers in St. Louis marched together in support of the movement for Black lives. (Photo taken by Carlton Mackey)

Under the "United We Fight" banner, a broad coalition of community groups and organizers in St. Louis marched together in support of the movement for Black lives. (Photo taken by Carlton Mackey)

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADES's very own Carlton Mackey traveled to Ferguson, Missouri on the one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. 

Mackey, as an artist, leader, and visionary, documented his experience witnessing this significant moment in American civil rights history.

Palestinian father Siam Nowara embraces public intellectual Cornel West following a commemoration event on the year anniversary and at the site where 18-year old Michael Brown Jr. was killed by police. (Photo taken by Carlton Mackey)

Palestinian father Siam Nowara embraces public intellectual Cornel West following a commemoration event on the year anniversary and at the site where 18-year old Michael Brown Jr. was killed by police. (Photo taken by Carlton Mackey)

An excerpt from Mackey's firsthand account: 

Fear and Nerves in Ferguson                  

From the moment I said yes to the invitation to visit Ferguson, my heart swirled with excitement, anxiety, and fear. Questions ran through my head. I’d consumed hefty doses of media. Would I be safe? Would I end up in jail? Would I get gassed? Would I get shot? 

And apart from the familiar fear that a black man harbors with regard to police encounters, more troubling to admit was that I was actually afraid too of the very people who made up the communities I was going to visit, many of whom looked just like me. I could not claim to be unaffected by the media’s portrayal of the people of St. Louis and Ferguson as violent, as looters. Mixed in with that fear was apprehension around whether my presence would even be welcome. Would everyone’s collective, righteous anger be so high that I would simply be interpreted as one more face to the many outsiders who wanted to “come see what was going on in Ferguson” as if it were a foreign country at best, or an African safari full of wild animals at worst? 

TO READ MACKEY’S FULL REFLECTION, VISIT EMORYWIRE AT:

http://www.alumni.emory.edu/emorywire/issues/2015/october/features/story_4/index.html#.VjzqQbSZ4UW

Beautiful in Every Shade Comes Together with the University of Arizona: Celebrating Black, Just Because

“None of us are beautiful until we acknowledge the fact that all of us are,”—Carlton Mackey.

This philosophy was the foundation of Carlton Mackey’s conception of the 50 Shades of Black and Beautiful in Every Shade movements and was beautifully translated into an empowering and affirming discovery workshop at the University of Arizona this past September.

Mackey and Devan Dunson (Mackey's Co-Director of Black Men Smile), partnered with African American Student Affairs and the Black Student Union at the University of Arizona to host this workshop, which allowed University of Arizona students to celebrate, explore, and discover the beauty of black identity.

The event consisted of four “Activation Stations”. One station was the “Black Men Smile” station, which sought to engender discussions on black masculinity in contemporary society and challenge narrowly defined understanding of said identity. Additionally, there was the written reflection station, where the attendees expressed their thoughts identity, dignity, and pride, and a display section on various sexual and racial identities: including Black-Latina, East-African, Jamaican, bi-racial and Black gay male. Finally, and most popular amongst the attendees of the event, was the Photo Booth station, in which Mackey and Dunson sought to “create a mosaic of people’s collective identities.”

These “Activation Stations”, and the discourse that accompanied them, allowed several University of Arizona students to understand, re-affirm, or even discover, the value of authenticity, self-worth, and pride in one’s identity. 

Photo taken by Courtney Talak of the University of Arizona Daily Wildcat for the article "Black Student Union hosts workshop highlighting beauty and sexuality standards"

Photo taken by Courtney Talak of the University of Arizona Daily Wildcat for the article "Black Student Union hosts workshop highlighting beauty and sexuality standards"

This event was widely received by the attending students and directors of the Black Student Union and the African American Student Affairs. The experience meant something very different to each individual, but gave them a chance to share their stories with others. Like Taperra Riddle, a sociology freshman said, “It’s good to know that there are other people with similar problems to talk about.” Even further, the event changed how some students saw themselves, going as far as to change the extent to which they valued parts of their identity. 

Isoken Adodo, program coordinator for African American Student Affairs at the University of Arizona, said “I’m 28 [years old] now, but when I was 18, you would never see my hair like this,” she said, pointing to her head. “I would struggle with the fact that I’m not a size four, that I had a bit of a shape… I think this event is great because it gives these young students the opportunity to look in the mirror and say, ‘I love my skin, I love my hair, I love my lips,’

At the closing of the event, in the open reflection panel, one student beautifully summarized the mission and value of the workshop and Beautiful in Every Shade movement with the statement, “One of the things I really liked about tonight was that black folks came together to take up space, but not around trauma…Today wasn’t about that. It was about coming to celebrate ourselves, just because. I think that is very powerful and I think that is also revolutionary.” 

Ashwini Krishnamurthy

Emory University Center for Ethics
Ethics & the Arts Program Intern

press, Typical American Families, community dialogue

Mackey, Knight, MailChimp: A Beautiful Band of 'Misfits'

Friday, September 18th, 2015 

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Directors Carlton Mackey, Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program at the Emory University Center for Ethics, and Ross Oscar Knight, international photographer and photo-culturalist, presented to the employees of MailChimp at their Ponce City Market headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. While MailChimp is a corporate company, focused on email marketing services, CEO Ben Chestnut takes pride in the fact that his company is made up of “misfits” and has made it his mission to create a culture that celebrates difference and diversity within the workplace.

Chestnut met Mackey at Chestnut’s first meeting as a new member of the Emory Center for Ethics Advisory Board. At this meeting, Mackey presented his work on Typical American Families—a project that explores the beautiful spectrum of family and ways it crosses barriers of race, religion, ability, class, sexuality, and age. Chestnut invited Mackey to present to his company as part of the company’s “Coffee Hour” series, which invites “creative, interesting, thought-provoking, and downright weird people” to come to challenge the view’s of the employees and teach them something new. 

Just as several guest speakers before them, including Big Boi from Outkast and Ann Friedman, journalist and professional .GIF-master, Mackey and Knight challenged normative thinking through their presentation. Mackey and Knight brought the Typical American Families photo exhibit, shared stories from families that were part of the project, expressed their understanding of art and its role in social change, and communicated their overall philosophical approach to their work.

In my interview with Mackey, he linked the mission of the company with his work with Beautiful in Every Shade and Typical American Families, which, as he said, “celebrates the misfit and gives them an opportunity to affirm that identity.”

The presentation was widely received. People stressed the importance of Mackey and Knight’s work and the need to broaden the image pool of people seen and how they are seen. One person talked about how, even though evidence would show that diversity is all around him, when he stopped and thought about a ‘typical’ American family, the image that pops into his head is always a very normative one. He felt challenged by this realization.

Sure enough, Mackey and Knight achieved the mission of the Typical American Families project and pushed MailChimp employees to think about “What is typical? What is American? What is family?...and who gets to decide?” 

-Ashwini Krishnamurthy
Emory University Freshman and Ethics & the Art Program Intern

community dialogue

AIGA ATL Diversity Roundtable: Getting A Seat at the Table

How can people of color and members of the LGBT community be better represented in their creative careers? Getting a seat at the table to offer your knowledge, gifts, and unique perspective is pivotal and open dialogue with other creative professionals who are facing the same challenges is a great way to learn. Join us for a roundtable discussion to share your personal experiences and resources. Diversifying our community matters!

Our special guests will be Carlton Mackey, Director of Emory’s Ethics and Arts program and Creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE ™ and Carmen Garcia, Creative Director at Realm Advertising.

 

Organizer:

AIGA Atlanta & Denise Brown

AIGA Atlanta Diversity is a chapter committee dedicated to supporting diversity issues facing the careers of student, emerging, and professional designers through discussion, community engagement, and exposure. 

http://atlanta.aiga.org/event/diversity-roundtable-a-seat-at-the-table/

Typical American Families, press, news

THE UNVEILING OF TYPICAL AMERICAN FAMILIES -ATLANTA PHOTO EXHIBIT AT EMORY UNIVERSITY

Dear Supporters of Typical American Families,

We are thrilled to announce the reception and unveiling of our exhibit, Typical American Families –Atlanta,

winner of the 2014 One Region Atlanta IDEAS Challenge.

Please join Carlton Mackey and Ross Oscar Knight, as we celebrate you! 

Meet the families that participated in our photoshoots who represent the diversity of the American family.

You will hear stories and view how these Atlanta residents bridge faith and culture in our city. 

At this event, you'll gain insight into Mackey and Knight's inspiration for the project and get a behind the scenes glimpse of the making of this exhibit.  You’ll also be able to hear from the families themselves as they offer commentary on the experience of being part of this project and what they celebrate about their own families.

Typical American Families is one of four signature projects of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE

The reception will begin at 6:30 pm on May 7th

at Emory University’s Center for Ethics

1531 Dickey Drive

Atlanta GA 30322

 Light hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

 

Please register to attend:

https://eventbrite.com/event/16676751613/

 ---

Contact Mika Pettigrew with questions.

mdpetti@emory.edu

404-727-2698

50 Shades of Black, 50 Shades of Latino, Black Men Smile, community dialogue, Typical American Families

Emory University Students 'Eat and Engage' with BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ Creator

Emory University Senior and Resident Advisor Farida Bana invited BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ Creator Carlton Mackey to engage with Complex Hall residents in their 'Eat and Engage' series.

The group explored the possibilities of what can happen in the world when people take the risk to see themselves and each person they encounter as beautiful.


Black Men Smile

BLACK MEN SMILE™ comes to Clark Atlanta University

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ brings its signature Black Men Smile™ platform to the campus of Clark Atlanta University.  At the invitation of the campus' chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority, Inc Co-Directors Carlton Mackey and Devan Dunson held an open photo shoot and facilitated a workshop and discussion focused on empowerment and positive self image.

Black Men Smile™ is the newest initiative of 50 Shades of Black, one of the four signature campaigns of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™

For information on how you can bring Black Men Smile™ to you campus email blackmensmile@gmail.com

www.blackmensmile.com

50 Shades of Black, news, press

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ Creator works with Emory University student to bring 'Vision In Action'

Emory University student Shanice Kellman works with BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ creator as she develops her new Beautiful Flaws project for 'Vision In Action'. Photo by Breonca Trofort.

Emory University student Shanice Kellman works with BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ creator as she develops her new Beautiful Flaws project for 'Vision In Action'. Photo by Breonca Trofort.

'Vision in Action' fellowships cultivate student ideas for social change

By Kimber Williams | Emory Report | March 19, 2015

Excerpt:

Projects arise from unexpected moments and places. Shanice Kellman, a junior majoring in sociology and media studies, was inspired to apply for a 2014-2015 VIA Fellowship after observing her 6-year-old cousin playing with dolls.

“I kept hearing her say that her black doll wasn’t pretty,” Kellman recalls. “If she didn’t think her black doll was pretty, how did she feel about herself?”

The child’s words weighed on her. “As a black woman, the one-dimensional images we see in the media are always something I’ve been cognizant of and wanted to address,” she says. “Going into my project, I knew I wanted to do something to support a more diverse definition of beauty.”

Through VIA, she’s had the chance to do just that, working with Carlton Mackey, director of Emory’s Ethics and the Arts program, adjunct professor of African American studies, and curator of the multi-media project, “Beautiful in Every Shade” — an experience made richer by readings that have deepened her understanding of class, race and media.

“It couldn’t have been more perfect,” she says. “I had no confidence going into this and he offered me an emotional foundation.”

This spring, Kellman is preparing to launch her “Beautiful Flaws” campaign, a week-long multi-media event that emphasizes that “beauty can come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes.”

“My project is coming to life right now,” she says. “It’s been an amazing year.”

READ COMPLETE EMORY REPORT STORY HERE

 

community dialogue, international initiatives, news, 50 Shades of Black, 50 Shades of Latino

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ partners with Fearless Dialogues for Creative Change

Fearless Dialogues creator Dr. Gregory C. Ellison, II invites participants at Methodist University in Sao Paulo to see the unseen.

Fearless Dialogues creator Dr. Gregory C. Ellison, II invites participants at Methodist University in Sao Paulo to see the unseen.

The creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™  traveled to the Methodist University of Sao Paulo in Brazil to partner in leading one component of the transformative experience founded by Dr. Gregory Ellison, II called Fearless Dialogues.  

Fearless Dialogues is a grassroots initiative committed to creating spaces for unlikely partners to engage in hard, heartfelt conversations that see gifts in others, hear value in stories, and work for change and positive transformation in self and other.

The Fearless Dialogues team creates spaces for transformation like none other. It is our niche. Radical hospitality lessens anxiety, reduces power differences, and level the playing field for hard conversations to occur.

Fearless Dialogues holds firm to the belief that artistic mediums reframe sterile and hostile environments into spaces for lively and engaging interaction.  The Fearless Dialogues team routinely utilizes the powerful visual narratives created by the BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™  team to bolster its mission and give expression to these beliefs.

international initiatives

The Street Boys and Girls Project in Sao Bernardo do Campo Brazil

We were so humbled to be invited to join Fearless Dialogues to share our message in Brazil with the Street Boys and Girls Project and their artists who work with socially excluded children by developing educational and cultural activities in order to:

- Stimulate the role and the return of these young people to family, school and community life. 

- Strengthen the liberating practice that considers the boys and girls as agents of their history, promoters of a more just, egalitarian and participatory society, together with other popular and social movements;

- Develop critical awareness that leads to change unjust structures in society.

- Defender legally the rights of children and adolescents and may, for this joining with class actions or other appropriate measure, Ana defense of all rights guaranteed in the Child and Adolescent and other related legal rules;

- To promote, defend and put pressure on government agencies and other social segments, so that children's and adolescents' rights are respected; denounced the arbitrary.
 

Fearless Dialogues created by Dr. Gregory Ellison and Beautiful In Every Shade Meets with group of artists and leaders of Street Kids Project in Sao Bernardo do Campo Brazil.

Fearless Dialogues created by Dr. Gregory Ellison and Beautiful In Every Shade Meets with group of artists and leaders of Street Kids Project in Sao Bernardo do Campo Brazil.

Dr. Gregory Ellison, II with Dr. Margarida Ribeiro from Methodist University of Sao Paulo at Street Kids Project in Sao Bernardo do Campo Brazil.

Dr. Gregory Ellison, II with Dr. Margarida Ribeiro from Methodist University of Sao Paulo at Street Kids Project in Sao Bernardo do Campo Brazil.

Neia Bueno speaks about history and work of Street Kids Project of Brazil

Neia Bueno speaks about history and work of Street Kids Project of Brazil

Michel Cena7 uses his work to speak to address social issues and to inspire positive social change in  his community.

Michel Cena7 uses his work to speak to address social issues and to inspire positive social change in  his community.

Neia Bueno presents group with copies of the book offering a practical guide to create recreational opportunities and carry the right to play for kids in Brazil.

Neia Bueno presents group with copies of the book offering a practical guide to create recreational opportunities and carry the right to play for kids in Brazil.

international initiatives

Samantha: Preserving Culture & Defining Her Own Standards

S Aweti of the Amazon tribe of Kalapolo, we are inspired by your commitment to preserve the language, culture, and traditions of your people and not be defined by any one's standards but your own. This is true beauty.

Learn more about The Stone Village or Village Tehuhungu that Samantha is from at http://aldeiatehuhungu.com.br/

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™  Reporting live from Brazil. 

Learn more about The Stone Village or Village Tehuhungu that Samantha is from at http://aldeiatehuhungu.com.br/

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™  Reporting live from Brazil.

signature apparel

COMING SOON: A New Way to Spread Message of Beauty by BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE

I don't know what my dad is up to but he said he was really excited to bring you something New! **SOURCING THE MATERIAL***

I don't know what my dad is up to but he said he was really excited to bring you something New! **SOURCING THE MATERIAL***

Something new to help spread a Message of beauty...coming soon.  www.beautifulineveryshade.com ***CHOOSING THE MATERIALS***

Something new to help spread a Message of beauty...coming soon. 
www.beautifulineveryshade.com ***CHOOSING THE MATERIALS***

Something new to spread our message of beauty coming soon to www.beautifulineveryshade.com ***PREPPING THE MATERIAL***

Something new to spread our message of beauty coming soon to www.beautifulineveryshade.com ***PREPPING THE MATERIAL***

Typical American Families, news

TYPICAL AMERICAN FAMILIES (ATLANTA) - NEW FEATURED FAMILY EVERY MONDAY AND THURSDAY

We finally finished one of the hardest decision making processes in the life of Typical American Families to date. 15 Atlanta families from over 200 submissions have been chosen to receive a FREE PHOTO SESSION with celebrated international photographer Ross Oscar Knight.

These photo sessions will occur over the next two months and will culminate in a photography exhibit and a facilitated dialogue where each of the families will see their photos and meet the other chosen families for the first time. This event and the unveiling of the exhibit will take place at the Emory University Center for Ethics in the Spring.

Typical American Families (ATLANTA) was a winner of the 2014 One Region Atlanta Ideas Challenge Grant. The project is a component of the Ethics & the Arts Program and is a signature project of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE, a grassroots movement created by Ethics & the Arts Program Director Carlton Mackey that seeks to celebrate the beauty found in every human being.

Leading up to the exhibit, Typical American Families will share some of the stories and photos of the Atlanta area families who submitted. These heartfelt, emotional, funny, and inspiring stories represent a beautiful spectrum of the diverse ways of 'being a family'. Crossing barriers of race, religion, ability, class, sexuality, and age this project seeks to celebrate the many manifestations family and to challenge some of the limited ways we've thought about it.

Join us every Monday and Thursday on our website and social media platforms where a new amazing family from those who submitted will be featured.

50 Shades of Black, press

Amma Asante: Seeing Myself In Belle - Exclusive Interview (Part 2)

Belle Movie Director opens up about the connection of the film to her personal life, her bi-cultural identity, and why art is a power resource for inspiring positive social change in the world in exclusive interview with 50 Shades of Black Co-Director Ross Oscar Knight. http://www.50shadesofblack.com

50 Shades of Black is committed to using the power of art and personal stories to explore the complex relationship between skin tone and sexuality in the formation of identity. Through collaborations with visual artists, scholars, and the general public, this project hopes to offer a deeper & more nuanced understanding the diverse spectrum of black identity. It is in the recognition of this diversity that 50 Shades of Black acknowledges the historical ways in which race and gender have been constructed and the role that and skin tone and sexuality play in shaping the way we engage the world, how we perceive beauty, and our own self-worth.
50 Shades of Black is one of four signature projects of the BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ Campaign - http://www.beautifulineveryshade.com

50 Shades of Black

Exclusive Interview with Amma Asante: CNN Woman of the Year, Belle Movie Director (Part 1)

Amma Asante: 2014 CNN Woman of the Year and Director of Award Winning Film, Belle, sat down with 50 Shades of Black Co-Director Ross Oscar Knight to discuss her inspiration to create one of the highest grossing independent films of the year, why she cast Gugu Mbatha-Raw to play the leading role, and the film's connections to her own life. 

50 Shades of Black is a signature project of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE