community dialogue

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.



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.

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.

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.

press, Typical American Families, news, community dialogue, 50 Shades of Black

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Creator takes Emory Alumni Back to Class in San Francisco

CLICK To Enlarge | More Info and Registration At: 

Event title:   Back to Class: Emory in San Francisco

Event date:   November 15, 2014 9:30 AM  -  3:15 PM PT

Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco - Union Square 
55 Cyril Magnin St. 
San Francisco, CA 94102
 P: 415.392.8000


The coolest thing about being an adult is that you can learn about anything that interests you. There are no core classes or tests to worry about, no homework or deadlines - just insatiable curiosity about new subjects and current issues.

Emory is bringing its brightest and best scholars and faculty leaders to Parc 55 Wyndham San Francisco - Union Square with our "Back to Class: Emory in San Francisco" event. 

Faculty Speakers: 


Carlton Mackey 05T

Creator of Beautiful In Every Shade

Assistant Director of the D. Abbott Turner 
Program in Ethics and Servant Leadership
Emory University Center for Ethics

Beautiful in Every Shade: Looking at You, Discovering Me

In this engaging session, Carlton Mackey 05T will discuss how his idea to post an illustration he designed onto the internet evolved into a global dialogue about skin tone, sexuality, beauty, and the changing face of the "typical" American family. With striking images, candid stories from people all over the world, and reflections from Mackey's own narrative that began right here in San Francisco, this session will challenge you to think critically about self-identity, how it is formed, and how a deep dive into one's self may lead to startling revelations about one's connection to others.

Elena Conis

Associate Professor of History
Emory College of Arts and Science

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?

Vaccines and vaccination were once considered crowning achievements of modern medicine and public health, but in recent years they’ve become highly controversial. More and more parents stand accused of under-vaccinating their children and believing in vaccine conspiracy theories. Medical experts lament the rise of diseases previously well-controlled by vaccines, such as measles and whooping cough. This presentation uncovers the true origins of contemporary vaccine worries and reveals the real reasons why vaccination is such a contentious issue in modern times.

Peter Roberts

Professor of Organization & Management
Goizueta Business School

Accelerating Micro-Entrepreneurs in Low-Income Communities

Micro-entrepreneurs establish very small businesses that support themselves and their families, while collectively supplying a range of products and services, along with a sense of purpose and vitality to local economies. They also face serious challenges in low-income communities. Professor Roberts discusses why he believes that (1) it is critically important to cultivate microbusinesses in low-income communities; (2) there are promising micro-entrepreneurs living in these communities; and (3) we can indeed influence the business knowledge, networks and capital that that these micro-entrepreneurs need to succeed.

Doug Shipman 95C


Doug Shipman 95C, president of the Emory Alumni Board, is the CEO of the new Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, prior to which he was a global consultant for Boston Consulting Group. Recognized by the press for his expertise and community contributions, Doug is frequently called upon to guest lecture at universities and provide insight to global institutions. With a longstanding commitment to service, Doug continues to take the lead in many philanthropic ventures and guide conversations about civil and human rights.

Diogo Anyigbo 10C 15M 15PH

Student Speaker

Chidiogo “Diogo” Anyigbo 10C, 15M, 15PH is a dual degree student who was born in Nigeria and grew up in Houston, TX. A member of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, she graduated from Emory College in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology. Diogo serves as the president of the Emory Pipeline Program, an interdisciplinary mentorship and health science education program for disadvantaged high school students.

Back to Class: Emory in San Francisco
Host Committee

Olivia Jovais 10C
Sahiti Karempudi 05Ox 07C
Nicolai Lundy 09C
Robin Norvell 02C
Emma Rosenbluth 07C
Lori Schectel 96C
Farae Strickland 98C

community dialogue, open photo shoot, press, 50 Shades of Latino

50 Shades of Latino: Capturing the Spectrum of Latino Identity

Photos and Mosaic by Carlton Mackey

Click Image to Enlarge

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ partnered with Emory University's Gamma Nu Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. to present the first annual "50 Shades of Latino/50 Tonos de Latino".  The event served as the 8th official Open Photo Shoot of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™.

In a conversation moderated by Carlton Mackey and Natalie Delia, the gathering also included a discussions about the implications of skin color on Latino Identity as well as the spectrum of ways Latino and Hispanic are defined.

The "50 Shades of Latino: mosaic featuring all participants who identified as Latino was revealed by the ladies of Gamma Nu at "Beyond Tacos and Burritos", an annual event presented by the Latino Student Organization.  This event also included special guest Rebecca Kaplan, keynote speaker Gerard Borda, and performances by Emory Salsa Club.  These events were the highlights of this year Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration.

Building Bridges. Carlton Mackey and Natalie Delia lead community discussion reflecting on identity formation in Black and Latino communities at the first annual "50 Shades of Latino" Event.

Building Bridges. Carlton Mackey and Natalie Delia lead community discussion reflecting on identity formation in Black and Latino communities at the first annual "50 Shades of Latino" Event.

Gamma Nu Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Carlton Mackey

Gamma Nu Chapter of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Carlton Mackey

community dialogue, press, signature apparel

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Takes Over Afro Punk 2014: The Most Diverse Festival in the Country

Photo by Chris Charles (Creative Silence) - On location at AfroPunk with BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE

Photo by Chris Charles (Creative Silence) - On location at AfroPunk with BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE

Reporting Live from AFROPUNK, Style Confidential joins Actor Malik Yoba (iconic32), the creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Carlton Mackey, and a team of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE featured artists (Adrian Franks, Chris Charles, Rachel Stewart, and Dex R. Jones to spread its positive message and to find out:

"What does BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE mean to you?"

AFROPUNK is an influential community of young, gifted people of all backgrounds who speak through music, art, film, comedy, fashion and more. Originating with the 2003 documentary that highlighted a Black presence in the American punk scene, it is a platform for the alternative and experimental. Remaining at the core of its mission are the punk principles of DIY aesthetics, radical thought and social non-conformity. AFROPUNK is a voice for the unwritten, unwelcome and unheard-of. AFROPUNK is defining culture!

AFROPUNK has been deemed by some as the most diverse festival in the country.

news, community dialogue

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Holds Diversity Conversation in Slovenia

WE ARE BEAUTIFUL - Knight poses with group after 2 hour diversity conversation in Sovenia's capital city.

WE ARE BEAUTIFUL - Knight poses with group after 2 hour diversity conversation in Sovenia's capital city.

Ross Oscar Knight, Director of International Initiatives for BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE just completed a 2 hour roundtable with a diverse group of intellectuals in the capital of Slovenia - Ljubljani.

The group discussed Shade-ism and what it means to them to be BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE.

"It was fascinating to hear their perspectives not only about Slovenia but also about Mali, Zimbabwe, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Italy, UK and more," Knight said.
Several statements really stood out during our recorded session:

  • "The first itme I saw a black person I was 14 years old. I took a picture of him and I put it on my wall. It is still on my wall."
  • "Slovenia is my motherland but I am more comforatble outside of it."
  • "My family taught me when I was younger that blackness is ugly."

 More to come about this developing story