Posts filed under press

Zora Neale Hurston Honored with Google Doodle on her Birthday

zora-neale-hurston.jpg

Today’s Google Doodle honors the American novelist, activist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, who was born on Jan. 7, 1891.

Read more: Zora Neale Hurston: Cultural Giant Is Today's Google Doogle | TIME.com http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/01/07/zora-neale-hurston-google-doogle/#ixzz2pjETKr00

Posted on January 7, 2014 and filed under art, history, press.

50 Shades of Black & I Love Ancestry Announce New Partnership.

50-Ancestry-Banner.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

50 Shades of Black and I Love Ancestry are proud to announce a new partnership.

January 3, 2014 - With a mission of building an online movement that empowers people to seek knowledge of ancestral heritage, I Love Ancestry works to “build intergenerational relationships between communities, particularly American Indians and Black Americans”.

 “I believe strongly in the mission of I Love Ancestry and feel that it is an extraordinarily valuable resource for scholars and everyday people alike to learn more about history and culture from perspectives and with voices that often to go unheard.  By bridging the narratives of American Indians and Black Americans, I Love Ancestry, also enhances our mission of broadening the often narrowly held understandings of diversity and culture as well as the narrow understanding of blackness.” –Carlton Mackey (Creator of 50 Shades of Black)

As part of this new partnership, 50 Shades of Black will offer a weekly column curated by the creator of I Love Ancestry, Adrien Heckstall, which will highlight the history of an American Indian, Black American, or an Afro Native ancestor and historical alliances between both communities.  50 Shades of Black creator, Carlton Mackey will also curate a weekly column on I Love Ancestry called Bridging the Gap that will highlight contemporary stories of individuals across the globe and share how their individual experiences of race and sexuality give rise to the formation of their unique and complex identities. The two will also partner for an Open Photo Shoot to be held in Miami in Spring 2014.

The two will also work together specifically to collect contemporary stories and artwork of Natives and Afro Natives to be featured in an art exhibit at the end of the year and in the next published volume of the 50 Shades of Black coffee table book series.  Right now the two are designing educational materials and a new series of custom apparel to be released by the end of this month.

“50 Shades of Black is who I am which is why I completely relate to this project and its mission. I am grateful for this partnership opportunity between I Love Ancestry and 50 Shades of Black as I feel both projects complete each other on so many levels in a very unique way by engaging people in sharing their stories about race and skin tone while learning about heritage and diversity." –Adrien Heckstall (Creator of I Love Ancestry)

----

About 50 Shades of Black

50 Shades of Black is a multi-faceted platform for creating an interactive global dialogue around issues of race, skin tone, sexuality and identity. Exploring these themes through visual art, literature, curated blogs, educational curriculums, and workshops, 50 Shades of Black aims to explore the ways in which our individual experiences of race and sexuality give rise to the formation of our unique and complex identities. For more information, please visit: www.50shadesofblack.com

 About I Love Ancestry

I Love Ancestry is a community driven platform that bridges our past and future, engages people and reinforces cultural diversity. We share stories of unsung heroes and heroines who shaped American history and the struggle for freedom. We explore the historical alliances between American Indians and Black Americans and their contributions to history. We promote inspiring people and organizations who are making a difference in our world.

At I Love Ancestry, we envision a world where people embrace their own and each other’s roots, celebrate diversity and advocate for indigenous cultures. We exist to empower people to seek knowledge of ancestral heritage, preserve historical truth, and unite like-minded people.

For more information, please visit: http://www.iloveancestry.com

comanche-family-shared.jpg

Leading Authors Discuss Colorism and Impact on Global Society

PANEL ON COLORISM.jpg

*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?

--------------------
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

-----------------

TONIGHT, Nov. 22. 

Call in number:  (646) 200-0402

Listen here:  http://bit.ly/1eqPhYv

-----------

PANEL ON COLORISM.jpg

50 Shades of Black Tribute to John Carlos feat on Carlos' Official Website

    The goal of this photo shoot was to honor this iconic act with a unique creative twist. Shakira both as Carlos and as Smith embraced the singular power of those two men in that defining moment in 1968 while simultaneously acknowledging the same potential for inspiration that is possible through black women today.

 

The goal of this photo shoot was to honor this iconic act with a unique creative twist. Shakira both as Carlos and as Smith embraced the singular power of those two men in that defining moment in 1968 while simultaneously acknowledging the same potential for inspiration that is possible through black women today.

We are so honored to have the concept photo shoot with our friend Shakira featured on the official webpage for Dr. John Carlos!  

According to his website: October 16 marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the day two young athletes brought protest to that most unlikely of places: the Olympic Games.

This entire shoot and tribute was a collaborative effort and would not have been possible without Shakira herself, her husband Brooks Pollard, Kari Mackey who sourced and styled the shoot, and  Chevon Dominique who did an amazing job with the makeup.

We honor the legacy of John Carlos and are humbled by the decision to include this tribute on his official webpage.  Special thanks to Mark Stoddart at L.I.W.I. the acronym for LIVE IT WEAR IT -a Toronto based clothing company with a vision to create a brand representative of an individual’s journey to strive for their passion, dreams, and desires.    L.I.W.I. creates the official John Carlos 68 shirt worn below.

Posted on October 24, 2013 and filed under activism, history, personal stories, press.

50 Shades of Black Creator in Ethical Conversation with Renowned Playwright Pearl Cleage and Alliance Theater Cast

Vera Stark_Flyer 2_web.jpg

By The Way, Meet Vera Stark @ Emory University

PASSING AND THE COMPLEX LANDSCAPE OF IDENTITY FORMATION

 Emory Center for Ethics and the Alliance Theatre Invites You to the

Ethics and the Arts Program: Ethics on the Stage

Dramatic Reading of By The Way, Meet Vera Stark

October 9, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Rita Anne Rollins Building
Center for Ethics Room 102

Please come join us at the Center for Ethics for an engaging ethical discussion of select scenes performed by Alliance cast, with renowned playwright, Pearl Cleage, Director, Leah Gardner, Dramaturg, Celise Kalke, 50 Shades of Black creator, Carlton Mackey, Moderated by Paul Root Wolpe, Director of Emory Center for Ethics.

By Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is the story of an aspiring actress breaking the mold of stereotypical African American film roles of the 1930s and the legacy she leaves on the film industry eighty years later.

Playwright in Residence Pearl Cleage calls the play “a fabulous force of nature!”

------------------------ 

 

pearl cleage.jpg

Pearl Cleage is an Atlanta based writer whose work has won commercial acceptance and critical praise in several genres. An award winning playwright whoseFlyin' West was the most produced new play in the country in 1994, Pearl is also a best selling author whose first novel, What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day, was an Oprah Book Club pick and spent nine weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her subsequent novels have been consistant best sellers and perennial book club favorites. I Wish I Had A Red Dress, her second novel, won multiple book club awards in 2001. Some Things I Never Thought I'd Do, was a "Good Morning America!"book club pick in 2003, and Babylon Sisters made the ESSENCE Magazine best seller list in 2005. Her most recent novel, Baby Brother's Blues, was the first pick of the new ESSENCE Book Club and anNAACP Image Award winner for fiction in 2007. 


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.

  

Posted on October 3, 2013 and filed under art, community, press.

What does Nina's win mean for Indian women in America?

nina-miss-america-2014.jpg

The second generation Indian-American woman.

We've all seen, met or interacted with her at some point in our lives.

She orders her Venti latte at a Brooklyn Starbucks with the same ease as she does butter chicken at the leading Indian restaurant in SoHo. She walks into a club in LA strutting an Hervé Léger dress and Jimmy Choo shoes with the same confidence as she does a Lehenga-Sari at her cousins wedding in Jersey. She switches with ease between her American accent at a Morgan Stanley presentation to her Indian accent during a conversation in Hindi with her grandma in Mumbai. She enjoys a weekend at Coachella just as much as jamming out to an AR Rahman tune. She enjoys watching an all American slapstick comedy just as much as she does a melodramatic Bollywood film.

You know who she is. She knows who she is.

She's confident in the color of her skin and wouldn't dare apply a skin lightening fairness cream like so many women do in India. But she knows that no matter how pretty she feels in her sun kissed dark brown skin, HER BEAUTY will never be seen as the ideal by the masses.

Not in the country she calls home and Not in the country her parents call home.

So what does Nina's win mean for Indian women in America? The format of the Miss America pageant isn't exactly the ideal way to measure a woman's worth, BUT it is after all a highly publicized proclamation of beauty. 

From national TV coverage and appearances on Kimmel and Conan to makeup aisle displays at Wal-Mart and Target, Nina is going to be everywhere! That and all the support received to counteract the hateful twitter aftermath gives me hope.

Hope that maybe eventually her beauty will also be seen
as AMERICAN beauty
as INDIAN beauty 
or just BEAUTY!

- Tanya Pereira
Creator of Not Fair, Still Lovely - an online platform aimed at changing the perception in the Indian community of color-prejudiced beauty standards defined by the billion dollar fairness cream industry.

 

 

Nina vs. past Miss World and Miss Universe pageant winners (Click to Enlarge)

Posted on September 27, 2013 and filed under current events, press, skin tone.

BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE...INCLUDING ORANGE

Photo by Elaine Oyzon-Mast, one of 5 local professional photographers chosen to host the art DBF Open Photo Shoot for 50 Shades of Black and  Typical American Families

Photo by Elaine Oyzon-Mast, one of 5 local professional photographers chosen to host the art DBF Open Photo Shoot for 50 Shades of Black and Typical American Families

I can't even begin to describe my emotions.  Being invited to be among so many amazing organizations that represent the spectrum of the art and cultural landscape of Atlanta was humbling to say the least. 

To see the beautiful faces of hundreds of people as they poured into our space on the main square in Decatur for the Inaugural Art | DBF, an art and culture showcase held within the Decatur Book Festival, made my spirit soar.

The team of photographers who made the 3rd Open Photo Shoot of 50 Shades of Black (and Typical American Families) possible can't be thanked enough.  It was them who offered the community an opportunity to see themselves in a way that many of them never have before.  The event was meant to affirm the beauty of every single one of us...and to help us (and others) to see ourselves anew.

Of the many many moments and faces that I can't wait to share later, one of my favorite moments came when Brian Harrison from the Center for Puppetry Arts, another art|DBF featured organization, came to visit.  In just a matter of minutes he transformed the entire space and in his own way helped us spread on of our most important messages.

I can't wait to share more! 

-carlton mackey

creator of 50 Shades of Black & Typical American Families

*Special Thanks to Showcase Photo and Video for providing the backdrop and other materials to make the shoot possible.
 **Complete list of the photographers who made this open shoot possible 

 

50 Shades of Black Announces Team of Photographers for 3rd Open Photo Shoot at Decatur Book Festival

50shadesofblack at artdbf2.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

50 Shades of Black, the collaborative artistic and scholarly project exploring issues of race, sexuality, and identity, announces that it has been invited by the AJC Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country, to be part of the inaugural art|DBF, an arts and culture showcase within the Decatur Book Festival. art|DBF recognizes that a vibrant, creative, and economically thriving community can be achieved by elevating the value and visibility of the arts. 

The Atlanta community is encouraged to join 50 Shades of Black on Saturday August 31st and Sunday September 1st 2013 on the Decatur Square.  The Exhibition Pavilion: Decatur’s entire MARTA plaza — the heart of the city — will be transformed into an exhibition, installation, demonstration, conversation, and performance space.  Here, 50 Shades of Black will host its 3rd Open Photo Shoot.  Participants will enjoy a free photo shoot courtesy of a diverse group of 5 local photographers including celebrated photographer and Inaugural Open Photo Shoot host Ross Oscar Knight. Participants will receive link to download a free copy of their photo, as well as have the photo considered for possible inclusion in upcoming 50 Shades of Black projects.

50 Shades of Black founder, Carlton Mackey also announces the Inaugural Open Photo Shoot of Typical American Families, a timely new project created to celebrate and affirm the changing face of the contemporary american family.  

About 50 Shades of Black

50 Shades of Black affirms the beauty found in all human beings while being 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 and appreciation for what diversity means.  Mackey and other featured artists and writers of the coffee table book 50 Shades of Black: The Conversation will be on hand to sign copies.   

For More Information please visit http://www.50shadesofblack.com

About Typical American Families

Typical American Families –a fresh new look at American families was created to celebrate and affirm the changing face of the contemporary American family. Its mission: To demystify and remove both the 'exoticism' and assumptions that are associated with being a (quote/unquote) 'non-traditional' american family.  Typical American Families is also as much about re-imagining some of our narrowly held, normative understandings of what a family can be and what one should look like. 

For More Information please visit http://www.typicalamericanfamilies.com

50 Shades of Black and Typical American Families were founded by Carlton Mackey, visual artist and Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

Contact:

Carlton Mackey

carltonmackey@50shadesofblack.com

### 

What are we so happy about? (Team of Photographers for the 3rd Open Shoot of 50 Shades of Black at Decatur Book Festival)

What are we so happy about? (Team of Photographers for the 3rd Open Shoot of 50 Shades of Black at Decatur Book Festival)

Elaine Oyzon-Mast -  http://elaineoyzonmast.com/ 

Breonca Trofort -  http://www.autofocusphotography.net/ 

Munir Meghjani - Paradoxical Photography

Mechal Roe - http://www.mechalroe.com/ 

Jeremiah Ojo - http://photosbyojo.tumblr.com/ 

Ross Oscar Knight - http://www.rossoscarknight.com/ 

50 Shades of Black Joins Select Group invited to be part of Decatur Book Festival's Inaugural Art DBF

50shadesofblack at artdbf.jpg

  About art|DBF

This year, the AJC Decatur Book Festival has invited a diverse group of arts organizations to engage our imaginations with stories, ideas, performances, installations, films, music, artwork, and photographs in order to connect our citizens more broadly with the arts and cultural opportunities in their local community. 

The result is art|DBF, an arts and culture showcase that recognizes that a vibrant, creative, and economically thriving community can be achieved by elevating the value and visibility of the arts—literary, visual, and performing; increasing accessibility, public involvement, and attendance; and working to ensure the long-term sustainability of arts organizations. 

Taking place August 31st and September 1st on the Decatur Square, the 2013 art|DBF 2013 will feature: 

• The Exhibition Pavilion: Decatur’s entire MARTA plaza — the heart of the city — will be transformed into an exhibition, installation, demonstration, conversation, and performance space. 

• Mainstage: a central venue taken over by art | DBF each festival day for a performance center; Saturday is The Dance Studio at the newly renovated Decatur Recreation Center; Sunday is Decatur High School. 

• The Atlanta PlanIt Pavilion: a space where arts and cultural organizations can build audience support and promote upcoming projects, exhibitions, and performance seasons. 

• Community Bandstand: a casual outdoor performance space to engage festival attendees. 

• art | DBF After Dark: a Saturday night arts gala starting at 7 p.m. on the festival plaza featuring a Flux Projection Project (Flux produces exceptional and surprising temporary public art within Atlanta’s public spaces) and several surprise pop-up performances. 

About the AJC Decatur Book Festival

The AJC Decatur Book Festival presented by DeKalb Medical is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square to enjoy book signings, author readings, panel discussions, an interactive children's area, live music, parades, cooking demonstrations, poetry slams, writing workshops, and more.

 

MORE ABOUT OUR PLANS FOR PARTICIPATION COMING SOON

Posted on August 27, 2013 and filed under art, community, press.

50 Shades of Black Announces its 2nd Open Photo Shoot

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

50 Shades of Black, the collaborative artistic and scholarly project exploring issues of race, sex, and identity, announces its Second Open Photo Shoot.

50 Shades of Black, having recently released its beautifully designed 120 Page Coffee Table Book is proud to announce that it will be holding its second major community engaged event on August 10, 2013 in Durham, North Carolina. 

The local community is encouraged to join 50 Shades of Black on Saturday, August 10, 2013 for its 2nd Open Photo Shoot to become a part of the movement! Participants will enjoy a free photo shoot courtesy of celebrated photographer Chris Charles of Creative Silence Photography and Design http://www.creativesilence.net  

Participants will be featured on the 50 Shades of Black website as well as have their photo considered for possible inclusion in upcoming 50 Shades of Black exhibits and projects including its next published printed volume.

Founded by Carlton Mackey, 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.

The 50 Shades of Black Open Photo Shoot will take place on Saturday, August 10 from 1PM to 4PM at 300 East Main St, Durham, NC 27701. This event is free and open to the public. Participants must RSVP online at: http://50shadesofblack-nc.eventbrite.com.  For more info regarding the Photo Shoot, please call Creative Silence (host photographer) at 919-930-5151.

About 50 Shades of Black

50 Shades of Black is a multi-faceted platform for creating an interactive global dialogue around issues of race, skin tone, sexuality and identity. Exploring these themes through visual art, literature, curated blogs, and educational curriculums, 50 Shades of Black aims to explore the ways in which our individual experiences of race give rise to the formation of our unique and often conflicting identities. For more information, please visit: www.50shadesofblack.com

Contact:

Carlton Mackey

carltonmackey@50shadesofblack.com

###

 

50 Shades of BLACK Book Release and Reading - Recap and Video

It’s been more than a year since 50 Shades of BLACK was first conceived by Carlton Mackey. And after months of brainstorming, planning, hard work and simply believing, 50 Shades of BLACK finally saw the release of “50 Shades of Black Vol. 1: The Conversation,” the first in a series of coffee table books meant to show the beauty in  diversity and sexuality, and stir up dialogue about the realities, both good and bad, of the lives all people and the skin they embody.

50 Shades of Black - Coffee Table Book In Production

welcome-production in progress.JPG

A book is being made...NOW.  I visited the facility where it is being made and had a moment of reflection.  I can't believe that it is all coming together.

ONLY 29 Hours Left to Pre-Order!

In an effort to end the Indiegogo Campaign Strong, we discounted the book to ONLY $39 until campaign ends!

Show your support Now at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/50-shades-of-black/x/3120649

Posted on June 12, 2013 and filed under art, press.

50 Shades of Black - Book In Production

Book Cover-web.jpg

Ladies & Gentleman, It's official. A Book Is About to be Made.
(Tears)

ORDER TODAY AT:www.indiegogo.com/projects/50-shades-of-black/ Book Release June 22. Details to Come.
(More Tears)


ARTSpeak: Carlton Mackey Burnaway Magazine 50 Shades of Black Radio Interview

carlton mackey burnaway am1690 - square.jpg

Thank you so much to Burnaway Magazine for this wonderful opportunity.  

CLICK HERE to Listen to Radio version (5 minute interview) and Extended Version (12 minute interview)

Episode 82: This week Claire Maxwell speaks with Carlton Mackey, creator of 50 Shades of Black, a project that examines the relationship between skin tone and sexuality in trying to shape one’s identity. Through several different platforms, the project offers visual artwork and conversations among artists, scholars, and the public to create dialogue about diversity and what it really means. 

Special thanks to AM1690, The Voice of the Arts, our partners in producing ARTSpeak with BURNAWAY. The radio program broadcasts over the airwaves every Tuesday in two rotations, 8-8:30AM and 6-6:30PM.

This program is supported in part by Georgia Council for the Arts through the appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. Georgia Council for the Arts also receives support from its partner agency, the National Endowment for the Arts.

THE THOUGHT & SOUL BEHIND THE DESIGN: AN INTERVEIW WITH CHRIS CHARLE

Chris Charles is the owner of Creative Silence and is a special featured contributor to 50 Shades of Black

Chris Charles is the owner of Creative Silence and is a special featured contributor to 50 Shades of Black

Why do you support 50 Shades of Black?

I see 50 Shades of Black as a wonderful platform to help facilitate the important conversations we as people of color have, or need to have regarding the issues of identity and sexuality we face in today's world. The use of art, articles and community building, are all things that attracted me to this project even more.

What is your overall design philosophy and how do you apply it to this project?

My design philosophy is based on simplicity, while letting strong imagery merge seamlessly with content. While looked at as a clichéd term, I still believe less is more when it comes to visually making a statement in a clean, but still artistic manner.

Has working so intimately on this project changed the way you view your own artistic process or the way you view collaboration? 

Interestingly enough, one of the things I promised myself as the year began, was to be more open to the collaborative process. Aside from direct client collaborations, I typically have not, in the past, made an effort to join artistic and aesthetic forces with other businesses and minds. With this collaboration for 50 Shades of Black, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Carlton to help bring his vision to life, while having the artistic freedom to express his concepts visually. If anything, I see myself collaborating even more with other like minds as the years progress.

What are your thoughts about hosting a 50 Shades of Black Open Shoot in NC?  

After seeing the great amount of love Atlanta showed for the inaugural 50 Shades of Black open shoot, I am more than excited to see North Carolina represent in the same way and come out for our shoot. We are currently in the process of securing a venue, all we'll need is the support of NC to take it home.

Any further thoughts?

I just wanted to thank Carlton Mackey for having the vision to put this movement together. The talent and minds involved in this project are a sheer testament to the strength of the vision behind it. I knew when I first saw Carlton's original 50 Shades of Black graphic, that it was the start of something special. I'm looking forward to the positivity that will continue to grow from the dialogue this has created.


"Sometimes inspiration can be found as much in the individual as in the art the individual creates".

This is definitely the case with how I feel about Chris Charles.  I discovered his work about the same time that I joined Tumblr and released my initial 50 Shades of Black concept design.  I knew this brother was seeking to convey meaning through his work that was larger than himself.  I think that this is something that all great artists do.  The secret seems to be that as much as we, the consumers of the work, are convinced that they have already found it, the artist never seems to think so.  They are therefore always reaching -always seeking for the transcendent (to them) just beyond their grasp. 

To me his work conveys as much of a quest as it does a discovery.  For that I am grateful that he has decided to journey with me.

 -Carlton Mackey (Creator of 50 Shades of Black) 

UPDATE:  50 Shades of Black and Creative Silence are Partnering to bring you the 2nd Open Photo Shoot of 50 Shades of Black! 

nc-open-shoot.jpg

Chris Charles/Creative Silence | photo + design is prominently featured in the upcoming 50 Shades of Black Coffee Table Book.

ORDER TODAY

 

(PART 1 OF 3) VIDEO SERIES HIGHLIGHTING OUR INAUGURAL OPEN PHOTO SHOOT!!!

8685030343_e7363880ea_k.jpg

(Part 1 of 3) An exclusive look at the 50 Shades of Black Inaugural Open Photo Shoot in Atlanta, GA hosted by celebrated Atlanta photographer and special contributor to 50 Shades of Black, Ross Oscar Knight on April 21, 2013 !!!

---
Founded by Carlton Mackey, visual artist and Director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative 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.

Video Produced by High Strung Art Collective for 50 Shades of Black

HELP US CONTINUE TO HOST COMMUNITY EVENTS LIKE THIS.

Posted on May 5, 2013 and filed under press, film, community.

50 Shades of Black Announces Pre-Order of Coffee Table Book & Launches IndieGoGo Campaign

50LAYOUTBANNER.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

50 Shades of Black art project launches IndieGoGo campaign in support of the publication of its forthcoming coffee table book, “50 Shades of Black: The Conversation.”

Atlanta, Georgia - May 1, 2013 - Building on the momentum of its successful e-book launch and Open Photo Shoot, 50 Shades of Black announces an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign in support of its first edition coffee table book, “50 Shades of Black: The Conversation

The 120-page book contains contributions from Atlanta artists Fahamu Pecou and Ross Oscar Knight, a special tribute to legendary Jazz singer Joyce Bryant, and an introductory chapter by Dr. Yaba Blay, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at Drexel University, and Consulting Producer for CNN’s “Black in America 5: Who is Black in America?”

Founded by Carlton Mackey, visual artist and Director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative at the Emory University Center for Ethics, 50 Shades of Black is a multi-faceted platform committed to exploring the complex relationship between race, skin tone, sexuality, and the formation of self-identity. Featuring images and essays from African, African American, Latino, Asian, bi-racial, multicultural, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer perspectives, 50 Shades of Black: The Conversation aims at expanding the understanding of what diversity means.

The recently launched fundraising campaign hopes to support the publication of the book, as well as the creation of additional programming, including:

• *Youth Educational Curriculum: teaching acceptance, tolerance and understading of diversity

• *Traveling Art Exhibit: featuring 50 Shades of Black featured and invited artists

•* Oral History Project: archive of personal stories about race, skin tone, sexuality and identity

• *Open Photo Shoots: involving the general public in the art creation process

With incentives ranging from “Beautiful in Every Shade” t-shirts to limited edition signed copies of the book, the IndieGoGo campaign hopes to raise $25,000 by the June 13th deadline.

For more info or to donate: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/50-shades-of-black

About 50 Shades of Black

50 Shades of Black is a multi-faceted platform for creating an interactive global dialogue around issues of race, skin tone, sexuality and identity. Exploring these themes through visual art, literature, curated blogs, and educational curriculums, 50 Shades of Black aims to explore the ways in which our individual experiences of race give rise to the formation of our unique and often conflicting identities. For more information, please visit: www.50shadesofblack.com

Contact:

Carlton Mackey

carltonmackey@50shadesofblack.com ###

THANK YOU ATLANTA! INAUGURAL 50 SHADES OF BLACK OPEN SHOOT BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS

How can I even begin to express my gratitude to all of you who showed up, volunteered, or shared information about the Inaugural 50 Shades of Black Open Photo Shoot.  It was truly amazing.  We (ummm...Ross Oscar Knight!) photographed nearly 150 people!

The overall environment was full of love.  I could feel the energy radiating from each of you.  The affirmation that your presence offered is invaluable.  I am eternally grateful.  This entire movement was just an idea less than a year ago.  To see the manifestation in the form of YOU means so much.

I must pause and offer a sincere heartfelt thanks to Ross Oscar Knight and his entire team.  This was a form of generosity that I cannot repay.  Not even stopping for a single break, Ross continued to work until the very last person was photographed.  Unbelievable Talent. Unbelievable Passion. Unbelievable Generosity.  THANK YOU.

STAY TUNED FOR SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE RELEASE OF THE PHOTOS FROM THE SHOOT & HOW YOU CAN BE PART OF THE NEXT PHASE OF 50 SHADES OF BLACK!!

Special Thanks To:
Jane Garver for these Behind the Scenes Photos for 50 Shades of Black
Chris Barker, 50 Shades of Black Artistic Director
Christopher Rhodes and High Strung Art Collective for the Video Production
Chazz Pope of Di Versa Phi Screen Printing for hand making our custom garments
Chris Charles of Creative Silence for designing our first Custom Garment

Posted on April 24, 2013 and filed under activism, blog, family, press, community.

PRESS RELEASE: 50 SHADES OF BLACK ANNOUNCES FREE EBOOK PUBLICATION AND FREE OPEN PHOTO SHOOT

OPENSHOOT-BANNER-FACEBOOK.jpg

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

50 Shades of Black, the collaborative artistic and scholarly project exploring issues of race, sex and identity, announces free e-book publication and Open Photo Shoot.

Atlanta, Georgia – April 16, 2013 – 50 Shades of Black, the recently launched multi-disciplinary art project, is proud to announce the launch of its free e-book. The beautifully designed e-book features scholarly, artistic and personal contributions from people of color worldwide, including noted Atlanta artist, Fahamu Pecou, and Assistant Professor of African Studies at Drexel University, Dr. Yaba Blay.

The Atlanta community is encouraged to join 50 Shades of Black on Sunday, April 21st at its inaugural Open Photo Shoot to become a part of the movement! Participants will enjoy a free photo shoot courtesy of celebrated photographer Ross Oscar Knight. Participants will receive a free copy of their photo, as well as have the photo considered for possible inclusion in upcoming 50 Shade of Black projects.

Founded by Carlton Mackey, visual artist and Director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative 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.

The 33-page free e-book, which is a preview to the 120-page coffee table book, “50 Shades of Black: The Conversation,” is available for download on the 50 Shades of Black website and iTunes.

The 50 Shades of Black Open Photo Shoot will take place on Sunday, April 21st from 1 to 4PM at Knight Studio, Studioplex, Studio G3, 659 Auburn Ave, Atlanta, GA 30312. This event is free and open to the public. Participants must RSVP online at: http://50shadesofblack.eventbright.com . For more info regarding the Photo Shoot, please call 404-313-0875.

About 50 Shades of Black
50 Shades of Black is a multi-faceted platform for creating an interactive global dialogue around issues of race, skin tone, sexuality and identity. Exploring these themes through visual art, literature, curated blogs, and educational curriculums, 50 Shades of Black aims to explore the ways in which our individual experiences of race give rise to the formation of our unique and often conflicting identities. For more information, please visit: www.50shadesofblack.com

Contact:
Carlton Mackey
carltonmackey@50shadesofblack.com

###

WHAT WOULD YOU CONSIDER BEFORE CROSSING THE STREET TO HELP A PREGNANT STRANGER?

Opinion Editorial by 50 Shades of BLACK Creator feature in local newspaper

Opinion Editorial by 50 Shades of BLACK Creator feature in local newspaper

Earlier this month I made a post on Facebook, and it stirred quite a conversation.  It was picked up by The Blackshear Times when the paper's editor saw the original Facebook Post.

Look. I get it. Almost anybody would have said no. This is a crazy world and unfortunately you can't be too careful...much less when u are a woman, visibly pregnant, and out of breath from walking from the grocery store and carrying a gallon of milk...slipping with every step from the grasp of your now aching finger tips. But regardless of the almost inevitable response of no and the inevitable scorn of a grandmother who was more than ready to hand off a very cute but super active two year old, I had to turn around and at least offer my assistance. Getting out of the car 100s of things were going through my mind: don't run across the street toward her too fast or she will feel threatened. Fix your coat so u don't look creepy. Speak softly so u don't seem too aggressive...and then there was the moment. This was a white woman and no matter how careful you approach or how straight your coat is or what tone of voice you use there isn't much you can or should try to do to squelch any apprehension she may have that may unconsciously arise when she sees the color of your skin..when the fact that an unsolicited black male is approaching her. Deep breath. Slow pace. Speak: "I'm sorry ma'am I could see from a distance that you may have been struggling to make it to your destination. I just wanted to stop to offer you any assistance that I could". After a somewhat startled look at first a tired, weary, and uncertain voice replied slowly "I'm ok. Just a long walk". I returned to the car at the same pace as I had left it. My only consideration now was not getting hit by a car and not getting in a wreck trying to quickly get home. I talk to my students all the time about how race plays out in our consciousness in sometimes startling and in sometimes subtle ways. I try to explore ways to discuss more difficult to explain concepts like privilege. To this day, I don't have a perfect definition but I think that I can use today as an example to illustrate a number of different things and to meditate on my own life and how even I am victim and perpetrator within a very complex system in this society of race understanding. To be clear the woman bears not burden of guilt, condemnation, nor is she the key to understanding white privilege in this scenario. But maybe privilege in a very anecdotal definition is: when getting out of your car to cross a street to help a pregnant woman (in any way you can) of all the things that we would all jointly consider before we approach her as to not make her feel too uncomfortable, the color of your skin is not one of those considerations. -Carlton Mackey (02/01/2013)

Read Edited Version as printed in the Blackshear Times

What are your thoughts?

Carlton Mackey is the Creator of 50 Shades of BLACK -exploring sexuality and the complexity of skin tone in the formation of identity.

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/50shadesblack Twitter:  www.twitter.com/50shadesblack Instagram:  www.instagram.com/50shadesblack