Posts filed under education

THE TALK: 10 Heartbreaking Instructions To Stay Alive if Confronted by Police

Dear son,

As your father, I feel there are some very important things that I must tell you right now.  Many of them may seem totally contradictory to things I’ve told you in the past but I need for you to listen carefully and do everything exactly as I tell you.  It breaks my heart to tell you this, but it seems apparent from recent events that these measures are what are required to ensure you stay alive if confronted by police.

If you are ever pulled over by police:

1)   Avoid Extended Direct Eye Contact

Yes. I know son. I always tell you to look each person you encounter directly into their eyes as a sign of mutual respect for yourself and as a way to acknowledge the other individual’s shared humanity, but this is a different encounter...and you are black. Because of the confidence you have in who you are, your extended direct eye contact will force an officer to immediately grapple with their own fears and insecurities.  They need to feel in control of the situation, and that they have an upper hand.  Eye contact for too long may be interpreted as a) a challenge or b) a threat…and these are bigger crimes than anything you were stopped for.

Direct eye contact may force an officer to immediately grapple with their own fears and insecurities


2)   Say Yes Sir - No Sir 

Yes. I know son.  Your mom and I don’t require it nor do your teachers.  But (pause, deep breath), I guess police officers think they need more formal signs of "respect" than even your father.  Never say “yeah,” and if the answer to one of their questions is “No” and you forget to say (or can’t make yourself say) “No Sir” DO NOT say “No” with any intonation or with any emphasis.  Saying “Yeah” or “No” may be interpreted as a) a challenge or b) a threat…and these are bigger crimes than anything you were stopped for.

Police Offices think they need more formal signs of respect than even your father.


3)   Don't Ask Why

Yes. I know son. I taught you to question everything.  I know that even when you are in trouble with me you are always allowed to ask questions because I feel you entitled to know why you are in trouble.  But (long pause, suppresses anger) you are not to expect the same level of respect by police you are shown at home.  Sandra Bland asked why she was asked to step out of the car and why she was being arrested 14 times and the officer's response was get out of the car or "I'll light you up". I don't want this to be you.  It seems that asking ‘Why’ may be interpreted as a) a challenge or b) a threat…and these are bigger crimes than anything you were stopped for.

You are not to expect the same level of respect by police you are shown at home.


4) Ask for Permission

If asked for license and registration, ask for permission to reach and get them.

Yes. I know son.  They just asked for it and asking them for permission to do what they just asked you for sounds crazy but because your license will inevitably be in your pocket and your registration will likely be in your glove compartment, you will need verbal affirmation.  Reaching to grab either one without this verbal affirmation may be interpreted as a) a challenge or b) a threat…and these are bigger crimes than anything you were stopped for.


DEAR GOD, I PRAY YOU NEVER NEED THE FOLLOWING RULES

 

5)   Open Door Using Outside Handle and Move Slowly

If you are ever asked to get out of the car, slowly show both of your hands and open the door using the OUTSIDE handle.  Looking down and reaching for the car door on the inside may be interpreted as reaching for something else.

Please make sure every move you make is slow from this point forward. 

*You are about to enter very dangerous territory. 

Once an officer sees your entire body, they will begin to IMMEDIATELY hone in on your physical attributes and no matter what your size is, your physical presence alone, as a black man, will somehow pose an immediate threat…and this is a bigger crime than anything you were stopped for.

Your physical presence alone as a black man will somehow pose an immediate threat.


6) Raise Both Hands Above Your Head

Yes. I know son. You have no idea why you were stopped or what you are being asked to step out of the car for but if you find yourself at this point it is of CRITICAL importance that you do exactly what I say.


7)   Bite Your Tongue

While you are being frisked do not move and do not say a word unless you are asked a question.  If you are inappropriately touched, or groped, or if your genitals are fondled, please Son, do not react in anger.  If you say, “What the hell are you doing?” or “Don’t touch me” like Eric Garner or move suddenly or kick or even snatch away from these violating gestures, your life is now certainly at risk because it is already evident by their actions that you are dealing with an individual who is now intentionally trying to provoke you (because up to this point, you have literally done everything right).


8)   Let Them Cuff You

If they attempt to put cuffs on you, let them.

Yes. I know son.  Your heart will be beating fast.  You will be afraid.  You have never been in this position before.  You will be angry.  You will be confused.  You will be embarrassed.  But PLEASE DO NOT LOSE FOCUS!  If you turn to your emotions now, anything that comes out of your mouth or any movement of your body will bee seen as a threat and WILL BE met with violence.  Please son, hear me!


9)   Remain Silent

You are being arrested and though you may feel as if you have been wronged and your rights violated, this may be the only right you have left.


10)   Know That I Love You

No matter what the situation is. No matter if you turned without a signal or not.  No matter what they said to you or what they did to you or how they made you feel or your sense of helplessness or how stupid you think I was for making you follow all these rules to only end up in jail.  No matter how much the “burden” of your blackness may make you want to wash it all off.  No matter how much confusion comes flooding your mind, know that I am proud of you.  Know that you are a man even if you don’t feel like one right now.  Know that your dignity is not something anyone else determines. 

Know that hate is rooted in fear and fear is rooted in ignorance and ignorance is rooted in being too arrogant to learn and arrogance is rooted in privilege and privilege is the direct result of a well crafted, calculated, systemic plan initiated many years ago to build a wealthy independent empire…and empires don’t work if everyone benefits equally.  Though privilege itself doesn’t make a person bad, it is a very difficult thing to let go of or to use constructively…particularly if there is no acknowledgement of its existence in the first place.

And since "Power" is the bastardization of Authority, it is the most abused privilege of all…with the harshest consequences.

 

But Love.

The love I have for you.

The love we have for each other

can overcome this situation, Son.

Don't do anything now to harm yourself.  

I am coming to bring you home.

And you have permission to be angry when you get there.

And you have permission to cry.

I am crying right now.

May our collective tears serve as baptism

And may we emerge from the water with clearer vision for what to do next

To restore justice
To dismantle this system and its “empire” ideology that put you through this to start with. 

Pick your head up.  Let’s work. 

I love you son. 

---
Carlton Mackey

Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program at the Emory University Center for Ethics
Creator of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE™ and its signature project 50 Shades of Black 

HERE & NOW: Modern Ideas of Slavery in Correlating Historical Landscapes

In the mid-1800s, Richmond VA was the largest source of enslaved Africans on the east coast of America. "Visitors to Richmond today have no way of seeing these stories, and residents have few ways of marking them." The stories of these spaces are worth recalling, as part of our own representational spaces.

In this two part series by 50 Shades of Black featured artist Breonca Trofort, we recall these stories and discover ways these spaces are part of our own narrative.


PART 1

Silas Omohundro’s Negro Slave Jail - 17th & E. Broad Street 

  Photo by Breonca Trofort from her series HERE and NOW

Photo by Breonca Trofort from her series HERE and NOW

Popularized by the Hip Hop culture, the male fashion statement of “sagging” is often displayed through young men wearing pants revealing their underwear, while usually being overly accessorized with jewelry, mostly chains. “Sagging” was adopted from the United States prison system where belts are prohibited to keep prisoners from using them as weapons or in committing suicide by hanging themselves. This style has become a symbol of freedom and their rejection of the mainstream society. Also popularized by hip hop artist are the use of wearing chains. Chains, primarily used in the past as a form of bondage, has now become a symbol of wealth. Since these ideas can easily be linked back to prisons, I decided to photograph this person at Silas Omohundro’s Negro Slave Jail located on 17th and E. Broad Street, present day Exxon Gas Station. 



"This exploration has given me another way to look at history, realizing the cycle that the past continues to play on the present."

-Breonca Trofort 


Slave Auction - 15th & E Main St

 Photo by Breonca Trofort from her series HERE and NOW

Photo by Breonca Trofort from her series HERE and NOW

Common in the African American community, young males are often taught that the only way they can be successful is through becoming a rapper or an athlete. Mainstream media often glorifies these professions and young children believe that is all they can become. I decided to photograph this young child holding a basketball in the location of where a slave auction was held, in order to describe how the process and system of becoming a college-athlete and/or pro-athlete has been compared to a slave auction. Setting aside the hard work and determination that athletes pursuing this dream endure, it is commonly stated that the professional sports "drafts" are looked at as an auction. During drafts, primarily wealthy institutions predominantly owned by white men are "buying" the persons (predominantly black athletes) they feel will "work" the hardest and benefit their business the most.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

Breonca Trofort is one of four Lead Artists of 50 Shades of Black. She is a sports and portraiture photographer for commercial and editorial clients. 

http://www.balyssatrofort.com/

Posted on July 2, 2015 and filed under art, education, Masculinity, activism.

BRINGING THE GIFTS: An Exhibit by 50 Shades of Black Creator Reflects on the Hopes and Dreams of Enslaved Africans

 

January 31, 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America which abolished the forced labor and enslavement of human beings.  On June 19, 1865, known as Junteenth the last remaining slaves in America were declared free. It was a day that many enslaved Africans dreamed of, struggled for, and died for in an effort to obtain…but never saw in person. 

In 1935 the federal government created a program known as The Federal Writers’ Project (FWP). The project employed photographers and writers, who travelled throughout the United States photographing and collecting stories of Americans across a spectrum of society.  Among the FWP projects was the Slave Narrative Collection [Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938]

The narratives are a collection of over 2,300 personal accounts of rural, southern African-Americans, the last of a dying generation of Africans born into the horrors of North American enslavement.  Though their adult lives were spent in “freedom,” they knew firsthand the limitations of Reconstruction.  Many lived under the harsh conditions of segregation and the debt of the vicious system of sharecropping. Though they had been emancipated from the peculiar and brutal system of chattel slavery, they could still only hope and work tirelessly for equality.

It is their sacrifice, resolve, and relentless commitment to resist any system or ideology that saw them as less than a human being that etched the blueprint for generations to follow. This blueprint is their greatest gift. It would serve as the foundation upon which a future they had faith in would come and would be built. 

BRINGING THE GIFTS

In 1978 Maya Angelou penned the now famous poem, “Still I Rise.” The poem was initially popularized by its use in a campaign by the United Negro College Fund and the name Maya Angelou itself became ubiquitous for Black Empowerment Poetry after she delivered the poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton in 1993.

The poem “Still I Rise” ends with the refrain: “Bringing the gifts that the ancestors gave… I am the hope and the dream of a slave.”  “BRINGING THE GIFTS,” a series of portraits that pairs historic photographs from the Federal Writers’ Project with the photography of contemporary Atlanta artist Carlton Mackey, is a creative re-imagination of that refrain.

Tiffany Young preserves the history of Butler Island and created the annual homecoming for Butler descendants.

At the invitation of Ms. Tiffany Young, descendant of Africans enslaved on Butler Island and creator of the annual Butler Island Plantation Homecoming,Mackey agreed to conduct an Open Photo Shoot of BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE ™, a movement created by Mackey to celebrate and affirm the beauty found in every human being. The Butler Island Plantation Homecoming is an annual event comprised of Butler Island descendants, friends,and supporters who wish to celebrate and remember the ancestors that lived and toiled upon the former rice plantation of Pierce Mease Butler near Darien, Georgia. At its peak more than 500 enslaved Africans worked the plantation.  Fanny Kemble, an abolitionist and wife of Pierce Butler, wrote of the life and harsh treatment of those enslaved on the island in “Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839”. Her harsh opposition of Butler’s practices ultimately lead to their divorce.  The publication of her journal became an effective tool of the anti-slavery movement and is considered one of the “best primary sources from the point of view of the slave owner of slave life on an early 19th Century plantation” (www.gacivilwar.org/story/butler-island-plantation).

 

Just days before the event was to take place, Mackey began searching the Internet with the hopes of potentially finding images of Africans who were enslaved in the area of the Homecoming events. Instead, he found several images from the Federal Writers’ Project archive.  In the archive he stumbled upon the image of Mr. Henry Brooks.  At that verymoment, Mackey claims to have been spoken directly to by the ancestor in the photograph and given instructions for executing a new photo series in lieu of the traditional BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE ™ Open Photo Shoot. Overcome with emotion,Mackey followed instructions and searched for a digital photo of himself taken earlier in the year by Atlanta photographer Bryan Meltz.  When he placed his photo next to the photograph of Mr. Brooks, the resemblance was uncanny -both in their physical features and the posing of the two in their respective portraits.  The revelation was ultimately clear and the concept for this new series was born.


To create this exhibit, Mackey collected and printed as many photographs taken of Africans formerly enslaved in the state of Georgia as he could from the Federal Writers’ Project and the U.S. Farm Security Administration archives. While at the Butler Island Plantation Homecoming, participants were invited to spend moments in quiet mediation while looking through these photographs.

Each participant was to choose (or be chosen by) one person in the photograph to honor. At various locations on Butler Island itself and throughout the town of Darien, Mackey photographed the participants and invited them to offer written reflections about the process and why they were drawn to a particular image.

The pairing was meant to invoke and awaken the essence of the living participant by creating a direct connection to the ancestor in the photograph.  It was meant to foster a heartfelt acknowledgement that through their living, they were the physical embodiment of someone’s “hopes and dreams.”

This series and the process of creating it are also as much about honoring one’s ancestors as it is about reflecting on the nature and meaning of hope. It challenges us to remember the gifts we’ve been given and dares us to ask: 

  • What are the gifts that we bring to the world?

  • It challenges us to critically reflect on our own hopes for the future and the source of the deep personal longings that reside at the epicenter of these hopes. 

  • What are the responsibilities that we have to make these hopes manifest? 

  • How might our living be a fitting memorial to those who came before us?

BRINGING THE GIFTS was on display at APEX Museum April 25, 2015 

Carlton Mackey was the Healthcare Ethics Consortium artist in residence for the 2015 HEC Annual Conference.  As part of his residency Mackey presented the inaugural display of BRINGING THE GIFTS at the Emory Conference Center Hotel March 19 & 20.

CONTACT US to inquire about displaying this series

 

Posted on June 18, 2015 and filed under africa, art, education, history, religion and culture.

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. www.50shadesofblack.com

Posted on January 5, 2015 and filed under art, education, film, history, Identity, personal stories, press, race.

50 Shades of Black Invites You to Join Descendants of Enslaved Africans on Butler Island to Create Transforming Portrait Series

Mr. Henry Brooks, ex-slave. Parks Ferry Road, Greene County, Georgia | Photo by Jack Delano;

Mr. Carlton Mackey | Photo by Bryan Meltz

In one week the creator of 50 Shades of Black, Carlton Mackey, will host a transforming photographic encounter as part of the Third Annual Butler Island Plantation Homecoming, --the much anticipated celebration and reunion of the Gullah/Geechee communities of Butler Island.  

This conceptual portrait series titled "BRINGING THE GIFTS THAT THE ANCESTORS GAVE..." was inspired by the conclusion of the late Maya Angelou's poem.

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave. - Maya Angelou

Through a process that is as much about honoring the ancestors and spiritual transformation as it is about photography, Mackey will invite participants to spend some moments in quiet meditation while looking through the photographs of former enslaved Africans from various parts of Georgia.  Mackey was doing just this when the idea first "awakened in his spirit".

Mackey states that he saw a photo online that essentially instructed him exactly what to do.  He paired this image with one of himself and was overcome with emotion.

"I knew something powerful was about to take place because I was experiencing anxiety all morning.  I knew I needed to make a post about the fact that we had been invited to host an Open Shoot as part of the Homecoming, but I kept putting it off.  I was experiencing fear about the whole event.  This let me know that something of great magnitude was about to happen.  Virtually every endeavor that I'm about to embark upon of significance is shrouded in fear and doubt.  This is my sign that it must be something that I have to do.  I'm learning to push through it until I have the clarity of knowing what is possible is greater than the fear.  What I didn't know was that my entire plan for hosting a traditional Open Photo Shoot was about to be exchanged for a plan that literally came from "the voice" of an ancestor in a photograph." -carlton mackey

Title: "Grandma" Lawrence, ex-slave on the Mercer Reynolds place in Greene County, Georgia | Delano, Jack photographer | Date Created/Published: 1941 May.

Participants will choose a photo (or be chosen by one) to honor.  At various locations on Butler Island, Mackey will photograph participants in a similar fashion.  This pairing is meant to invoke the essence of the living participant being the embodiment of the "dream and hope of the slave".  The pool of photos will mostly be from the Library of Congress (U.S. Farm Security Administration) and have no restrictions upon use and images from the Emory University's Robert Langmuir African American Photograph Collection.  Mackey hopes to secure funds to create an exhibit of diptychs coupling the historic and the contemporary photos.

Free and Open to the Public

This photo shoot will be part of a much larger Butler Plantation Homecoming.  The Butler Plantation Homecoming pays tribute to those enslaved Africans that lived out their lives as the property of Pierce Mease Butler on Butler Island Plantation, and those that were sold in the nation's largest sale of slaves that took place in 1859.

Please join us as we celebrate the culture and heritage of the enslaved people originating from Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, Angola, Whydah and Igboland areas of Africa.

***Breaking News*** The Butler Island Plantation Slave Cemetery has been discovered! The cemetery is potentially one of the oldest documented in the state. This year's celebration will include a commemoration ceremony in honor of approximately 919 enslaved people buried in the cemetery.

The festival features a presentation by Dr. Teresa Singleton - Archaeology Professor of Syracuse University and expert in Butler Island Plantation slave artifacts; Ancestor Cemetery Commemoration; "50 Shades of Black" Open Photo Shoot; "A Taste of Geechee" food and culture; guided tours; a parade of flags; performances; music; vendors; children's activities; family fun and much more.

REGISTRATION & INFO

http://www.exploregeorgia.org/listing/47501-third-annual-butler-island-plantation-homecoming-festival

50 Shades of Black Creator Connects the Legendary Joyce Bryant to Elementary Kids and History Comes Alive

Was she still alive? The question lingered in the minds of 33 Hardy Elementary School’s fourth graders in San Diego, California after their teacher, Christine Bailey, introduced them to a woman they would not soon forget.

Caption: "Joyce Bryant the first Negro to play a top hotel at America's most popular resort.

Bailey had set out earlier this year to teach her students about lesser known figures in Black History and stumbled upon a woman whose beauty had graced the covers of Jet magazine and held spreads in Life and Time. A woman who was a pioneer, as the first black singer to perform at the Casino Royale in Washington, D.C. and several hotels in Miami Beach during the early 50s. Her nickname became the Black Marilyn Monroe. She is, Joyce Bryant.

“The littler known people were just as instrumental,” Bailey said. “We should pay homage to them and celebrate what they did.”

Bailey and her students became enamored with Bryant’s style — sexy, with a purpose. Bryant’s signature look included a skintight dress and stunning silver hair.

“In those past times, and some would say they still linger, a woman of Joyce Bryant’s color was not automatically considered as beautiful and gorgeous as she was,” said Jim Byers, Bryant’s biographer and producer of an upcoming documentary called Joyce Bryant: The Lost Diva.

Bryant said her flashy style served a higher purpose — to open stage doors previously closed to Black singers at white-only clubs. Although some of her songs were banned from the radio for reasons more complex than their alleged provocative content, Byers said, her vulnerability and effervescent presence transcended all barriers. Bryant was a hit.

Known as the pit bull of research by her colleagues, Bailey had taken to the Web to find out if she was still alive. In all biographies of Bryant, no date of death was listed. She finally came across the 50 Shades of Black blog where director, Carlton Mackey, had recently posted about meeting Joyce Bryant.

After a few emails, Mackey then connected her with Bryant’s niece and caretaker, Robyn LaBeaud. Black History Month for fourth graders at Hardy Elementary got a lot more interesting. Bailey shared her discovery with the class and the children wrote reports and Bryant’s life while her music played in the classroom. Then, with LaBeaud’s blessing, they wrote and sent her letters asking questions about her life.

LaBeaud read each letter out loud to her “auntie,” but was interrupted by Bryant who laughed at questions about her dancing. She clarified, she was not a dancer. A singer and actress, yes. But not a dancer.

“I don’t know where they got that from,” she said.

Shortly after the letters were exchanged, Bailey and a colleague traveled to Los Angeles to meet Bryant in person. Although the students were not allowed to travel beyond city limits, Bailey shared the pictures, music, stories and joy she experienced meeting the celebrity when she returned.

“We felt like we were like little school girls meeting a super star,” Bailey said. “We were standing outside the house making sure we were on time.”

LaBeaud, a professional chef, cooked lunch for the visitors. They were invited to sit and eat on Bryant’s bed and they spoke with her for more than two hours.

“She’s just an absolute kick in the pants,” Bailey said. “She is as lively and wonderful and sassy as you would just imagine her.”

“I’ve taught for twenty-nine and a half years and I have never had history come to life through this whole process — playing her music, writing letters, then sitting on her bed with her.”

Although Bryant now has Alzheimer’s, she hasn’t forgotten her glory days. She shared stories of her years as an elite in the music industry — rubbing shoulders with other stars like Sydney Poitier, and giving voice lessons to Denzel Washington’s wife.

“She asked us a lot of questions, which made us feel just as important as she was,” Bailey said.

“She made you feel so very comfortable. And to hear how sad it was, her whole life how people took advantage. You’d never know those things when you meet her.”

Bailey made the two-hour trip back home listening to nothing but the sound of Bryant’s voice on her car’s stereo. She placed the two portraits she was given on the walls of her classroom. For certain assignments she still plays the music for the children.

On one special occasion, she and all her students stood up, pressing their legs together imitating Bryant’s iconic dress and sang along to her song. It was in that moment Bailey knew the “teaching moment” of a lifetime.

“I hope they learned that you can be what you want to be if you put your mind to it,” LeBeaud said.

“I think what she taught the kids, and what they picked up is you can be what you want to be. The sky is the limit.”

—Danielle B. Douez

Emory University Grad
BA
 Psychology 2013,
Freelance Writer & 50 Shades of Black Contributor

RELATED STORIES:
Meeting the Legendary Joyce Bryant by Carlton Mackey

Joyce Bryant: The Most Famous Woman I Never Heard Of by Carlton Mackey

Posted on September 20, 2014 and filed under blog, education, history, sexuality.

Pan African Film Festival Atlanta | Afro-Native Ancestry and Healing Touch Interview

 Photo by Carlton Mackey

Photo by Carlton Mackey

50 Shades of Black hosts the Opening Day screenings of the 2014 Pan African Film Festival in Atlanta, GA.  After a screening of "From Above", we sat down with Yvonne Rosegarden to discuss her African American and American Indian ancestry and how the film relates to her work of transforming lives through the healing power of positive touch.  

"From Above" is an award-winning Shakespearean love story between African American and American Indian main characters so in love with one another that they are entangled beyond life itself starring Danny Glover.

SHINNECOCK INDIANS OF EASTERN LONG ISLAND - Bridge between American Indians and Black Americans

  RUBEN VALDEZ & CORTLAND CUFFEE with Tuwesu. Shinnecock & African heritage.   (c) Photo courtesy of Toba Tucker.

RUBEN VALDEZ & CORTLAND CUFFEE with Tuwesu. Shinnecock & African heritage.  (c) Photo courtesy of Toba Tucker.

BRIDGING THE GAP: Contemporary Realities, Our Ancestral Past, & Our Liberated Future

The Shinnecock Nation is one of the living proof of the historical alliances between American Indians and Black Americans.

SHINNECOCK INDIANS OF EASTERN LONG ISLAND.
The Shinnecock Nation is a federally recognized American Indian Nation, located on the East End of Long Island adjacent to the Town of Southampton. Federal recognition was achieved October 1, 2010, after thousands of years of documented history on Long Island, and 32 years of struggle with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As the 565th federal tribe, its banner has taken its place among other tribal flags at the U.S. Department of the Interior, BIA, Hall of Flags, Washington, D.C.
---

This is the 12th of a weekly series called BRIDGING THE GAP curated by I Love Ancestry on 50 Shades of BLACK featuring stories of inspiring people and ancestors who contributed to the struggle for freedom.

50 Shades of Black will also be curating a weekly series of stories on I Love Ancestry featuring contemporary stories of people like YOU from around the world. We personally invite you to join us on this journey of discovery and healing.

Each week we will feature a story of a historical figure & one of YOUR stories about your ancestors, your heritage, and/or your coming to understand and celebrate your OWN identity.

Share your stories, find your voice, speak your truths.

SHARE YOUR STORY:
http://www.50shadesofblack.com/share-stories

50 Shades of Black Creator in Featured Podcast at Wonderroot

 Floyd Hall in Recording Studio at WonderRoot in Atlanta, GA

Floyd Hall in Recording Studio at WonderRoot in Atlanta, GA

This morning I had the distinct pleasure to sit down with Floyd Hall, the Interactive Media Manager for Wonderroot for an interview.  Floyd curates the WonderRoot Podcasts series which offers listeners a vast array of conversations and insights into WonderRoot, artists and the Atlanta cultural community. Each podcast is recorded in the audio studio at WonderRoot Community Arts Center.

I can't wait to share to share more with you.  Expect podcast release early next week.

 50 Shades of Black Creator Carlton Mackey and Floyd Hall at WonderRoot - Atlanta, GA

50 Shades of Black Creator Carlton Mackey and Floyd Hall at WonderRoot - Atlanta, GA


Rwanda is BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE

Ross Oscar Knight Beautiful in Every Shade Rwanda_0002-sm.jpg

50 Shades of BLACK | Rwanda:

50 Shades International Liaison, Ross Oscar Knight, traveled to Rwanda this February to teach a photography workshop to a group of 30 students. He's been planning this trip for the better part of two years. "I'm so honored to have been provided the opportunity to not only teach students there, but to learn from them as well. It was fascinating to see the students eyes and minds light up with curiosity and courage," says Knight. He also spent some time engaging with the community and conducting field research about how skin tone and sexual orientation are perceived and offering the message of our global BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Campaign. This image of a young man was taken in Northern Kigali.

Stay tuned to see and hear more stories from Ross Oscar Knight reporting from around the world.

>>Order Shirt to Support Our Efforts

50 Shades of Black Music & The Anthem: Academic Mixtapes for the Mind and Soul

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50 Shades of Black Music - The Mixtape

  This compilation was researched and compiled by Kwame Phillips, a doctoral candidate in anthropology and films studies at Emory University. Each digital release is accompanied by artwork created by Atlanta based artist C. Flux Sing exclusively for 50 Shades of Black.

This compilation was researched and compiled by Kwame Phillips, a doctoral candidate in anthropology and films studies at Emory University. Each digital release is accompanied by artwork created by Atlanta based artist C. Flux Sing exclusively for 50 Shades of Black.

Six Months ago 50 Shades of Black released our signature Mixtape: 50 Shades of Black Music curated and compiled by Kwame Phillips and our first Exclusive Signature art piece by C. Flux Sing to accompany it.  (10 Limited Edition Giclee Prints Available)

Showcasing the history and rich diversity of 'Black Music' in America and throughout the diaspora this Mixtape highlights the forms and styles that have stemmed from global black experiences. In the tradition of the medium, this volume serves to be a gift, from older generations to new, between friends, from parents to children. We aim to represent an intersection between hip hop tradition and scholarship by offering an Academic Mixtape -one where one could both nod their head and feed their mind.

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Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora 

the anthem download.jpeg

Following the success of the 50 Shades of Black Music Mixtape, Phillips teamed up with Dr. Shana L. Redmond, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California to create another Academic mixtape titled ANTHEM.  The mixtape accompanies Dr. Redmond's book of the same title (2013 NYU Press, 356 Pages).  Also available on Amazon.

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For people of African descent, music constitutes a unique domain of expression. From traditional West African drumming to South African kwaito, from spirituals to hip-hop, Black life and history has been dynamically displayed and contested through sound. Shana Redmond excavates the sonic histories of these communities through a genre emblematic of Black solidarity and citizenship: anthems. An interdisciplinary cultural history, Anthem reveals how this “sound franchise” contributed to the growth and mobilization of the modern, Black citizen. Providing new political frames and aesthetic articulations for protest organizations and activist-musicians, Redmond reveals the anthem as a crucial musical form following World War I.

Beginning with the premise that an analysis of the composition, performance, and uses of Black anthems allows for a more complex reading of racial and political formations within the twentieth century, Redmond expands our understanding of how and why diaspora was a formative conceptual and political framework of modern Black identity. By tracing key compositions and performances around the world—from James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” that mobilized the NAACP to Nina Simone’s “To Be Young, Gifted & Black” which became the Black National Anthem of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)—Anthem develops a robust recording of Black social movements in the twentieth century that will forever alter the way you hear race and nation.

 Kwame Phillips rocking 50 Shades of Black Signature BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Shirt and Dr. Shana Redmond in California for the release of The ANTHEM Mixtape

Kwame Phillips rocking 50 Shades of Black Signature BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE Shirt and Dr. Shana Redmond in California for the release of The ANTHEM Mixtape

Both Academic Mixtapes Available Above

LISTEN. SHARE. CRITIQUE. LEARN. GROW.

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Janelle Monae's Afrofuturism on Black History Month

Is humanoid equality the next civil rights fight?

Cindi Mayweather

And so she sings, we're all virgins to the joys of loving without fear....

Following her EP: metropolis Janelle Monae has used the analogy of synthetic intelligence to argue topics like civil and gender rights along with giving a new meaning to the ideal of LGBTQA ...perhaps the 'T' can stand for Transhuman or the 'A' for anything. In the five suite chronology of her 3 albums Monae has painted a picture of pop, rock, rap, jazz, blues, R&B, funk, and even folk to keep our attention while ranting about her own frustration with the kind of empowerment which is possible in the increasingly techno-connected world.

Modeled after the many interpretations of the storied Metropolis: a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. Monae's consistent theme is a love between a human man and a robot women, but in this recent album has evolved into  stories about the her self confessed alter-ego cyborg Cindi Mayweather and her own identity as a seemingly lgbtR (R for Robot).

The album Electric Lady and Archandroid before that, bring to mind the issues surrounding love equality, which are socio-politically related to marriage equality. The age old dowry system of marriage is now a catalyst to normalize love across cultures and preferences, aside from its sustained bride price. Human's ability to create laws that better acknowledge independence of things of sentience will be increasingly tested as human-kind itself grows more diverse.

I'd argue that Gay is the new Asian because of all the unpacked diversity in the culture, but black seems to be the analogy that everyone is going with.

Michael Joseph Gross coined it The Last Great Civil Rights Struggle. Pundits are rightfully quick to make something finite in order to capitalize on it. Aside from marketing, it’s not true. There will always be more struggles, as minorities exist and define their niche forte. We are reverse engineering our way to pure individualism. Imagine 7,000,000,000 cultural labels and counting. LGBT issues are just the latest struggle, but the next or perhaps the one after that, will be Humanoid or even Robot issues. There is an ethnography to everything including the technology that compels and propels our daily lives. As we humans try and engineer our ways out of all labor we've started to create sentience. Just as Edgar Rice Burroughs writes in The Master Mind of Mars we have the potential to fall in love with a beautiful mind transferred to a horrible body. How will our ethical code change legally when Cindi Mayweather a humanoid lady falls in love with Anthony Greendown, a gentleman?

Originally posted on 10/3/2013 in H+ an extension of the World Transhumanist Association by author James Felton Keith

 

@JFKII
writer, cultural critic, special contributor to 50 Shades of Black

Posted on February 1, 2014 and filed under activism, art, blog, education, Homophobia, Identity, LGBT, music, sexuality.

Happy Black History Month: Minorities as a Heuristic

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For everyone unfamiliar, a heuristic can be an experience-based technique for problem solving, learning, and discovery that give a solution which is not guaranteed to be optimal.

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This past November 6, 2013 I attended an event at the City University of New York’s Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies for a roundtable discussion on Black Queer Diaspora. I thought it would be ultimate in minority topics, next to Asian Queer Diaspora. I have to admit that I was unsure what would actually be discusses at the event. The event was a critique of Jafari Allen's new book and mostly about the "connectivity" of the black queer diaspora to other cultural genres of the world.

In a special issue of GLQ, Jafari Allen beckoned us to see that “Black/queer/diaspora is an organic project of multivalent and multiscalar reclamation, revisioning, and futurity (yes, all at once).” This event brings together preeminent writers and thinkers at the forefront of engaging with this work. Issue editor Jafari Allen (Yale) and contributor Vanessa Agard-Jones (Columbia) present research from their new projects emerging from the conversations of the special issue. Robert Reid-Pharr (CUNY Graduate Center), and Rosamond S. King (Brooklyn College) will offer responses to this new work, informed by their own scholarship and research interests. Collectively, they will each present new research that considers and expands the methodological and conceptual inquiries grounding the issue.

After the presentation of Allen’s new book project Black/Queer/Diaspora and a Agard-Jones’s beyond fascinating paper What the Sands Remember (which could suggest radical political warfare on ethnic and sexual minorities via unethical bio & chemical policy. READ IT!) their critiques made the event much more compelling. Rosemond King’s poetry was beautifully easy yet provocative, although I’m not sure she’d agree with my choice of language. But the kicker was Dr Robert Reid-Pharr’s critique of Allen & Agard-Jone’s work. He said

Black Queer Diaspora should be presented as a heuristic

The way he used it, meant that it “can” go away. I immediately thought about my own work and how colleagues, peers, critiques, and I regularly explore the ends of things to push understanding beyond our understanding from the day-to-day lives we lead. Of course it's an effort to understand the exponential growth potential of our lives. I’ve never seen so many minorities clash. %0 Shades of Black regularly employes the clashing of many minorities as we individuals recognize so many sub-groups in our own minority.

If you are still reading, please indulge my logic of Reid-Pharr's comment briefly: Think of "minorities" as "problems" to potentially be "solved" with less-than optimal outcomes; or rather a diluted existence into some broader culture (majority). Anthropological history of culture systems and even physics system suggest that Reid-Pharr is on to something. A minority that is tolerated and accepted should eventually dilute into the norms of the broader culture.

Even further and most interesting to me as a socialized African American, although my genome sequence reads quite different, was question posed from the audience by a woman asking Jafari Allan if he agreed with Rober Reid-Pharr’s comment about heuristics. Allen agreed that “Queer” could go away, as he elaborated about his and the academy’s difficulty with the term. He continued to say that “Black” could never go away. After he laughed at the the statement he switched subjects.

To this point I haven’t dealt with Afro-futurism mainly because it is not an interest of mine, even after the request of editors at organizations like Humanity+ & IEET. Having stated that, the writings and comments around Afro-futurism concern me simply because I am classified as black. Phenomenologically I am inclined to reject Allen’s suggestion that “Black” could never dilute, especially while considering “Queer” to have the potential to do so. While we are still early in the commencement of our technological evolution it is possible to consider the potential of ethnic ranks pervading the humanoid population. Simply, human selection aside from that of natural selection is allowing each individual in the human-kind race to design themselves in the favor of their own ambitions. I’m compelled to think of the green-honed four-toed tri-breasted Spanish-speaking avatars designed in SecondLife and those in real life. If I extrapolate the cultural changes that I see in 2014, it seems that our population will be a large sea of minorities. From a socio-cultural standpoint, I think that Anthropologists can find and will continue to find remnants of tolerance leading to the acceptance from individuals living OUT... Those transparent lifestyles dilute the majority and minority normative: exposing everyone as an individual participating in a group.

 

 

@JFKII
writer, cultural critic, special contributor to 50 Shades of Black

Posted on January 31, 2014 and filed under art, blog, education, Identity, LGBT, sexuality.

Race, Sex, and MLK: 50 Shades of Black Creator to Moderate Conversation at Emory University

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Join Volunteer Emory for a social justice dialogue on overcoming inequality in the 21st century.

Moderated by Carlton Mackey from the Emory Center for Ethics, creator of 50 Shades of Black http://www.50shadesofblack.com/

and
**FEATURING**
Zai Air - Emory's own Davion Ziere
https://soundcloud.com/zai_air

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The Loving Story: Screening and Discussion with creators of 50 Shades of Black at Emory University

 Photo by Villet Grey

Photo by Villet Grey

The Center for Community Partnerships (CFCP) and the Ethics & Arts Program are hosting a film screening & discussion of The Loving Story on January 20, 2014 from9:30 to noon at the Emory 

Center for Ethics, Room 102. 

Discussion led by Carlton and Kari Mackey.  Carlton is the director of the Ethics & the Arts Program at Emory University and the Creator of 50 Shades of Black.  His wife Kari is the Assistant Project Coordinator of the Access to Information Project at the Carter Center. 

Event will also include a presentation by Dr. Pellom McDaniels on the Robert Langmuir Collection of more than 12,000 photographs depicting African American life from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century. 

 

Audience will include local high school students and parents from CFCP’s Graduation Generation initiative.

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Let Jesus Walk (Part 1)

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Images of the first century Palestinian Jewish man named Jesus are more prevalent this time of year than any other.  Depictions rendered by artists (namely by or inspired by an artist named Warner Sallman) are resurrected and pervade our social consciousness.  Images grace the covers of popular magazines that otherwise would never have a religious figure on the cover.  They often have phrases under then like “The Real Jesus” (US News and World Report) or “Uncovering Jesus”.  They seek to offer readers some historical context for understanding the life and times of arguably the most influential person in human history.

Art is a powerful tool.  It can convey emotion, express complex ideas, offer hope, present mystery, and point to things beyond our present reality.

Among the most popular pieces of art (or sets of art) in the world are depictions of Jesus created in the 40’s by an artist named Warner Sallman.  Sallman was originally commissioned to create a more masculine image of Christ by Dr. E O Sellers (1924ish).  The set of images presented to the world up to that time (as thought by Sellers and members of the institute he was dean of) were too passive.  Jesus looked to him too effeminate, too gauntly, and too non-American.  [This was 1920’s America]. Sallman woke up the day of the deadline for the submission with an idea and sketched it in charcoal.  Sallman integrated other features that had become more and more popular every since the spread of Christianity in medieval Europe to distinguish Biblical characters worthy of veneration from depictions of the “negative” characters like King Herod and Judas who were depicted to have more “Jewish” features.  This tradition was inherited in order to perpetuate and solidify the message that it was the “Jews”…a group somehow distinct from “Christians” that crucified Christ.  [This was 1920’s America...the height of Anti-Semitism in America].

Sallman’s paintings captured the heart of America.  By the 1940’s his pieces began to spread like wild fire.  In 1940, based on his earlier sketches, he created what has become the most duplicated piece of art in the world, Sallman’s Head of Christ.  His pieces were something unlike other images at the time in that they reflected the deepest held views of America about what the person they would worship should look like.  [This was 1940’s America].  Sallman had captured an ideal.  For a decade, between 1940 and 1950 pieces that would become as American as apple pie (maybe more so) were created by the same artist who had mastered the formula for what America wanted in their Jesus.  To Sallman belongs not only the famous Head of Christ, but the ubiquitous painting of Jesus knocking at the door, and many others.

But 1940s America was a very significant time in American and global history.  The ideal figure that Sallman had created or based his images off of held a certain place in American and global society.  To that ideal was granted certain rights and privileges not afforded to others.  Sallman had created an exceptionally tall, strong looking, beautiful man who could be easily seen as strong enough to fight off attacks from a Japanese enemy, but gentle enough to open the door for a lady.  He was John Wayne and George Washington combined!  He was perfect! [This is 1940s America]

The nation, or those in power, were complicit with the state of things.  There was enough other mess going on.  Good Christian folks may not have “supported” the segregation of the day but they weren’t making too much fuss about it.  The Civil Rights Movement wasn’t at its peak.  That wouldn’t be for another 20 or so years.  The country had “enough on its plate”.  We were trying to emerge from the Great Depression and FDR was president.  Anti-Semitism was not as high as it was in the 20’s and 30’s but it was high.

To white Christians (non-Jews), to Sallman, and to the Jesus he had created (to be a perfected image of their ideals, hopes, and dreams) this was the time some historians call the Golden Age of America.

[OK…enough with the history]

During this season of Christmas, where we are bombarded with images, I created (manipulated) an image to provoke thought and to engage in discussion.  The work that I am committed to doing right now in my life as an artist is centered around exploring the role of sexuality and skin tone in the formation of identity.  It is impossible for me in doing this work to not take seriously the function of the art that unlike any other time of the year is all around us, its history, and how it shapes all of our lives.

People aren’t born thinking they are ugly, or inferior, or not good enough, or too black or too white or not strong enough or too fat or too gay or too feminine or too masculine.  These things are constructed…slowly over time…with unbelievable precision.  Us, our institutions, our art, our lack of understanding of history, our fear, and our hesitancy to deconstruct these things keep us here.

I’m one of you.  I’m afraid of what I don’t know.  I afraid of being rejected.  I’m afraid of being judged. I hate the thought of being isolated and unliked.  I was afraid to post this image.  I was afraid of what you might say or think of me.

...so I did it.

This is not an attempt to make people think that Jesus was black.  That doesn’t do anything for us.  I do, in this season of mass consumption: of food, of stuff, of images of a first century Jew from Palestine named Jesus to take a moment to think about what all of it means.  In this time of great discovery, of birth, of mystery, let’s be as imaginative and as hungry to meet Jesus as the Magi.

…to ask ourselves where it all comes from, to ask why is it presented this way, to not be complicit, to think anew about what a Jesus who would have fought against segregation, who would have refused to drink, swim, or be baptized in a segregated pool.  To think anew about a Jesus who may have been, on the flip side, not allowed to drink, swim, or be baptized with others.  To think anew about maybe emphasizing less the images of any figure that has been dictated to us of any particular race and try to discover the essence of the truth within the teachings.

…to fight against the structures: institutional, mental, personal, that separate us…to think boldly but with passion about how to do so…through thought provoking art, through conversations, through how we spend our resources, etc…to think about what we can do to not be a religion/group that performs our holiest of actions on the holiest of days in ways that don’t scream for _________________ only but instead all are welcome.

PLEASE READ LET JESUS WALK PART 2

http://www.50shadesofblack.com/blog/let-jesus-walk-part-2#.Uqj552RDv0g

 

 

Carlton Mackey

Creator of 50 Shades of Black

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Posted on December 10, 2013 and filed under activism, art, current events, education, faith, history, Identity, race.

Maramosa: Kenya, Mandela, Music - Premier of new film narrated by creator of 50 Shades of Black

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The Goat Farm Arts Center Presents:
A Foresee Films Production
 

MARAMASO PREMIERE
Join the Movement, be a whistleblower for peace

Trailer:
https://vimeo.com/79580765

When: December 10th 7pm - 10pm
Where: Rodriguez Room at the Goat Farm
Door: $5 

Local production company Foresee Films has produced a documentary about Kenyan politics, tribalism, and possibilities for a different future through the story of a young artist named Nelson Mandela. It premieres Tuesday, December 10th at the Rodriguez Room of the Goat Farm Arts Center at 7pm, $5 admission.

Producer: Ashley Beckett 
Director: Laura Asherman 
Director of Photography: Mike Morgan 

Narrated by: Carlton Mackey (Creator of 50 Shades of Black)

Maramaso is a concept developed by a musician / activist born and raised in the slums of Nairobi. The name is derived from the philosophy’s end goal, a “Man Raise Man Society” in which support for fellow man and youth empowerment are more important than personal gain in one's own life. This is how Mandela, the subject of our film, lives his life. The film illustrates his revolutionary philosophy of love through his life story and his daily struggle to survive in an environment that encourages self-promotion while inspiring the youth in his community to change the paradigm. We partner this micro level look at the concept with a macro level exploration of the political climate in Kenya leading up to the highly anticipated elections of March 2013. This film hopes to be witness to the birth of a movement from one young man's philosophy, that each of us has to do what we can to help those around us.
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Falling whistles is a coalition dedicated to ending the conflict in Eastern Congo through advocacy and awareness. We at Foresee Films have partnered with Falling Whistles to use the premiere of our film as a platform for the launch of their new publication, The Free World Reader. It is a quarterly print publication that exposes hidden truths about which we as a global community are often misled. It examines the global system we live in, the structure of our societies, markets and hierarchies, and their byproducts of war, poverty, and inequality. It’s an exploration of the fuel that drives these unfortunate realities in an effort to open a dialog into alternative solutions.

 

Posted on December 5, 2013 and filed under activism, africa, art, blog, education, music, personal stories, travel.

Double Consciousness: Soul, Black Folks, Creative Silence

 Chris Charles ( Creative Silence ), Self Portrait

Chris Charles (Creative Silence), Self Portrait

Double Consciousness

(Definition from the Duboisopedia) (Photo from the mind of Chris Charles)

Double Consciousness is a term coined by W. E. B. Du Bois to describe an individual whose identity is divided into several facets. As a theoretical tool, “double consciousness” reveals the psycho-social divisions in American society and allows for a full understanding of those divisions. Du Bois’ focus on the specificity of black experience allows for challenging injustice in national and world systems.

The term was first used in an Atlantic Monthly article titled “Strivings of the Negro People” in 1897. It was later republished with minor edits under the title “Of Our Spiritual Strivings” in 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk. Du Bois describes “double consciousness” as follows: “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife- this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He does not wish to Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He wouldn’t bleach his Negro blood in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face” (2-3).

Credits:

Du Bois, W. E. B. (1903). The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Dover Publications.

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Chris Charles is the founder of Creative Silence
& a Featured Artist / Special Contributor to 50 Shades of Black

Leading Authors Discuss Colorism and Impact on Global Society

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*Why should we be concerned about colorism in 2013?
*How is it impacting our lives and our progress today?
*What are some of the ways that colorism intersects with racism and sexism?
*Why is it urgent that we address colorism, in the midst of "The Browning of America"? 
*What are the solutions? What can we do as individuals? And as a community?

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ABOUT THE PANELISTS:

Dr. Yaba Blay: (1) Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race

@fiyawata

 Dr. Yaba Blay is a professor, producer, and publisher. As a researcher and ethnographer, she uses personal and social narratives to disrupt fundamental assumptions about cultures and identities. As a cultural worker and producer, she uses images to inform consciousness, incite dialogue, and inspire others into action and transformation

While her broader research interests are related to Africana cultural aesthetics and aesthetic practices, and global Black popular culture, Dr. Blay’s specific research interests lie within global Black identities and the politics of embodiment, with particular attention given to hair and skin color politics.  Her 2007 dissertation, Yellow Fever: Skin Bleaching and the Politics of Skin Color in Ghana, relies upon African-centered and African feminist methodologies to investigate the social practice of skin bleaching in Ghana; and her ethnographic case study of skin color and identity in New Orleans entitled “Pretty Color and Good Hair” is featured as a chapter in the anthology Blackberries and Redbones: Critical Articulations of Black Hair/Body Politics in Africana Communities.

One of today’s leading voices on colorism and global skin color politics, Dr. Yaba Blay is the author of (1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race and artistic director of the (1)ne Drop project. In (1)ne Drop, she explores the interconnected nuances of skin color politics and Black racial identity, and challenges narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality. In 2012, she served as a Consulting Producer for CNN Black in America – “Who is Black in America?” – a television documentary inspired by the scope of her (1)ne Drop project. In addition to her production work for CNN, Dr. Blay is producing a transmedia film project focused on the global practice of skin bleaching (with director Terence Nance).

Dr. Blay received her BA in Psychology (Cum Laude) from Salisbury State University, M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from the University of New Orleans, and M.A. and Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University with a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. She is currently co-Director and Assistant Teaching Professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University. Dr. Blay is also the publisher and editor-in-chief of BLACKprint Press.

http://yabablay.com/1ne-drop/

Carlton Mackey:  50 Shades of Black

@ carltonmackey @50shadesblack

Carlton Mackey is a visual artist and Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

50 Shades of Black is committed to exploring the complex relationship between race, skin tone, sexuality, and the formation of self-identity. Through collaborations with visual artists, scholars and the general public, this project hopes to offer a deeper understanding of what diversity means. It is in the recognition of this diversity that 50 Shades of Black acknowledges the historical role that race and skin tone have played in shaping the way we engage the world, how we perceive beauty, and our own self worth.

www.50shadesofblack.com

Marcia Alesan Dawkins: Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity

@drdawkins09

Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Ph.D. is a technology-loving, diversity-oriented intellectual entrepreneur from New York City and communication professor at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles.

An award-winning author, speaker, and educator, Dawkins -- known to "tweeps" as @drdawkins09 -- is a leading authority on how diversity, technology and creative storytelling are changing everything.

Her expert opinion has been sought out by Google, NPR, WABC-TV, TIME Magazine, The New York Times, HuffPo Live, The Leadership Alliance, The Mayo Clinic, The Nashville Public Library Foundation and The Public Relations Society of America.

Her first book, Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, was released in August 2012 to rave reviews. Most notable among these is Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, who remarked, "Clearly Invisible is a thought-provoking analysis... that challenges the way we view race and culture in our society." Dawkins's second book, Eminem: The Real Slim Shady, is now available and nominated for the 2013 USA Best Book Award.

Dawkins has received grants and awards from organizations such as the National Communication Association, the Eastern Communication Association, the Irvine Foundation, the California State University and Google Project Glass. She has been recognized by the University of Southern California for outstanding teaching and mentoring. In addition, she has been awarded residencies and fellowships from Brown University, Vanderbilt University Law School, New York University, Villanova University and the USC Graduate School Office of the Provost.

Dawkins holds a doctorate in communication from USC Annenberg, master's degrees in humanities from USC and NYU and bachelor's degrees in communication arts and honors from Villanova.

http://www.marciadawkins.com/

Lakesia D. Johnson, JD, PhD
@profsoulsista
Grinnell College Department of  Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies and English

Lakesia D. Johnson has a law degree, M.A. and Ph.D. in Women's Studies from The Ohio State University. Her areas of teaching and research include visual and narrative culture, Black women's studies, Chicana feminist theory, critical race theory and feminist legal theory. Her essay, "Othermothers, Amazons and Strategies of Leadership in the Public and Private Spheres" is featured in Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing the Motherline (SUNY Press 2011) edited by Toni C. King and S. Alease Ferguson. Her book Iconic: Decoding Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman was published in August by Baylor University Press.

Book:  ICONIC: Decoding the Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman
When Lakesia D. Johnson set out to write her book – ICONIC: Decoding the Images of the Revolutionary Black Woman – she had two primary goals in mind: to explore how representations of strong, revolutionary black women within pop culture are used to reinforce mostly negative stereotypes about black women and to trace the numerous ways that African American women activists, actors, writers, and musicians have negotiated, confronted and resisted stereotypical representations of black womanhood by taking control of their public images and constructing iconic depictions of and narratives about African American womanhood.  

One image that has circulated the Internet for months was the mugshot of recording artist Lauryn Hill. Once viewed as a strong, independent, extremely successful pop cultural figure, one which extended beyond the boundaries of her music, Lauryn is now depicted through this very photograph as an unhappy, sad woman.  And in many respects, it might be easy for some who view the picture to categorize her blank, empty stare as typical of the "angry black woman."  Johnson is able to discuss this present-day image of Lauryn Hill, what it means to her musical legacy and how it may or may not change the scope of how she is viewed today as a once iconic black woman figure. 

Further, Johnson can focus on how ICONIC chronicles how strong black women, from the past to the present, have taken control of their own imaging despite consistent negative characterizations.  Through their speech, demeanor, fashion, social relationships and historical contributions, women from Sojourner Truth to Michelle Obama have counteracted these negative depictions.  With ingenuity, fortitude and focus on the greater good, these women transformed the cultural images of themselves and, simultaneously, those of American black women as a whole.

Sophia A. Nelson, Esq 
@IAmSophiaNelson
Author. Columnist. Political Pundit. Speaker. 

Book Title: "Black Woman Redefined - Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama"

Sophia A. Nelson, Esq.  is “redefining” the rules for 21st Century living and success. She is the author of the award winning book “Black Woman Redefined: Dispelling Myths and Discovering Fulfillment in the Age of Michelle Obama” (May 2011). 

Sophia A. Nelson writes a national lifestyle & political column for Newsweek/Daily Beast, and does various opinion columns for Huffington Post Healthy Living, Black Voices & Women.  She also writes for NBC's theGrio , and is a contributor to MSNBC, Essence Magazine, USATODAY and NPR. You can watch Sophia regularly as a noted political pundit & social commentator on MSNBC & TVOne's Washington Watch with Roland S. Martin. Her second book "The WOMAN CODE" is due out in late 2014. You can learn more about her on http://www.sophiaangelinelson.com

Black Woman Redefined was inspired in part by what Nelson calls “open season on accomplished black women,” which reached a tipping point in 2007 when Don Imus referred to black female Rutger’s University basketball co-eds as “nappy-headed hos.” Since then, we’ve seen First Lady Michelle Obama caricatured on the infamous New Yorkercover, when she was called “angry” and “unpatriotic”; the 2009 groundbreaking Yale University Study on professional black women titled, “Marriage Eludes High-Achieving Black Women”; ABC’s “Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find a Man?” and the Internet video that went viral, “Black Marriage Negotiations,” featuring a successful black woman interviewing a nice black man to be her mate in a robotic, controlling, emasculating, Bible-thumping demeanor. 

More recently, we were subjected to the 2011 Super Bowl commercial that started a national firestorm featuring an “angry black woman” throwing a soda can at her mate, after first kicking, slapping, and emasculating him.  Nelson says black women are tired of such depictions that portray them as manless, childless, angry, and unfulfilled. Nelson sets out to change this cultural perception, taking readers on a no-holds-barred journey into the hearts and minds of accomplished black women to reveal truths, tribulations, and insights like never before.  She says it is time for a REDEFINITIONamong black women in America.

TaRessa Stovall: Other People’s Skin: Four Novellas

@taressatalks

TaRessa Stovall is an author/blogger/identity activist committed to honesty, healing and progress. She co-edited and contributed to the anthology, Other People’s Skin,crafted with fellow sister-authors Tracy Price-Thompson, Desiree Cooper and Elizabeth Atkins to explore ways of healing the rifts between Black women caused by colorism and hairism.

www.empowerourselves.org

Other People Skin, which kicked off the Sister for Sister Empowerment Series, was followed by My Blue Suede Shoes,four novellas exploring what lies behind and ways of healing from various forms of intimate violence/domestic abuse.

TaRessa, a native of Seattle and graduate of The Evergreen State College, co-authored the book A Love Supreme: Real-Life Stories of Black Love, which was featured on Oprah, and has authored, co-authored and/or co-edited (with Tracy Price-Thompson) several other works of fiction and non-fiction.

TaRessa blogs at www.Blackandblewish.com

HOSTED BY:

Ella Curry, President of  EDC Creations 
About Me:  http://about.me/elladcurry
Black Pearls Magazine Online-Founder
Black Authors Network Radio-Founder
Social Media Expert - Internet Publicist - Brand Strategist

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TONIGHT, Nov. 22. 

Call in number:  (646) 200-0402

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PANEL ON COLORISM.jpg

Slaves going to the coffee harvest with oxcar - triptych

Listening to NPR this morning and learned about photo exhibit of Slavery in Brazil. 
Went to the NPR website to see/learn more.
Saw a photo and started writing.

slavery-exhibit-3-triptic1.jpg

Light Skin but still a slave

no straight hair could save

me and my daughter today

from the perils of the trade.

 

slavery-exhibit-3-triptic2.jpg

Too small yet to walk

hold you in my arms to talk

to you about the faults

of a time when we all could be bought.

 

slavery-exhibit-3-triptic3.jpg

This little piggy went to the harvest. 

This little piggy wanted to stay home. 

This little piggy wanted a piece of bread. 

This little piggy got none. 

This little piggy found a way to make it through another day.

Until it was time to go back home. 

 

TO BE CONTINUED... 

   A detail from a photo of slaves going to the coffee harvest with oxcar. Vale do Paraiba, Sao Paulo, 1885.

A detail from a photo of slaves going to the coffee harvest with oxcar. Vale do Paraiba, Sao Paulo, 1885.

Posted on November 12, 2013 and filed under history, education.