Recasting the Black Image

Thu, Oct 8

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An event about reckoning with the stereotype of the “Black Male”. This artistic presentation and conversation focuses on demands placed on Black men by society and mainstream media and the ways artist-activists are reshaping this image. Featuring screenings of film shorts from the co-directors of Hands Up, Alexis Woodard and Keith Arthur Bolden, and artist Mark Kendall. 

Moderated by Carlton Mackey, Director of Ethics and the Arts Program Emory and Founder of Black Men Smile
Mark Kendall, Writer, Actor, Comedian, and Creator of The Magic Negro
Eugene H. Russell IV, Musician, Songwriter, Actor, & Founder of Men Not Myths
Charles Stephens, Founder of The Counter Narrative Project
Anthony Knight, Educator and Founder of The Baton Foundation

Thursday, October 8th at 7pm EST

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Carlton Mackey is the creator of BLACK MEN SMILE®, a viral social media platform and empowerment movement for Black men to "celebrate the way we see ourselves".  He is also the creator of the BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY SHADE® an apparel line with a mission of building solidarity among women of color, and author of 50 Shades of Black: Sexuality and Skin Tone in the Formation of Identity

Mackey is the Director of the Ethics & the Arts Program and Associate Director of the Ethics and Servant Leadership (EASL) Program at the Emory University Center for Ethics. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies. In the midst of the national reckoning for racial justice in America and the COVID-19 pandemic, Mackey along with the Director of the Emory University Center for Creativity and the Arts created the Arts and Social Justice Fellows Program at Emory University.

As a community advocate, Carlton serves on the Atlanta Board of Education Ethics Commission and on the Board of Directors of Foreverfamily, an Atlanta non-profit surrounding youth with one or more incarcerated parent with the love of family and providing regular visitation trips.

Mackey is a Teaching Artist at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA.

Mackey’s work blends his unique combination of social consciousness, creativity, scholarship, and social connection to create powerful impressions that invite new discovery and personal transformation.

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Mark Kendall is an Atlanta-based comedian. His one person show, "The Magic Negro and Other Blackness" was produced by Dad’s Garage Theatre and the Alliance Theatre and also performed at ARS Nova's ANTFEST in NYC and The New Ground Play Festival at The Cleveland Playhouse. He completed the Comedy Central Chris Rock Summer School Program, where he pitched jokes at "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." Mark was named best Professional Funnyman by Creative Loafing in 2015 and was the Readers Pick for Best Comedian in Creative Loafing Atlanta in 2019.

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Eugene H. Russell IV, born and raised in southwest Atlanta, is a multi-talented vocalist, musician, songwriter, and award-winning actor. His regional theatre credits include East Texas Hotlinks (Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company), Five Guys Named Moe (Theatrical Outfit), Dutchman (Nebraska Repertory Theatre), Nell Gwynn (Synchronicity Theatre), Memphis the Musical (Aurora Theatre), What I Learned In Paris (Alliance Theatre), and Before It Hits Home (St. Louis Black Rep), for which he received the prestigious Woodie King, Jr. Award. A voiceover artist with numerous commercial credits, Eugene’s film/TV appearances include CBS’s “MacGyver,” BOUNCE TV’s “Saints & Sinners,” and FOX’s “Star.” Donning his composer hat, he wrote the music for the Alliance Theatre TVY world premiere of Beautiful Blackbird, producing the commercially released cast recording. With his latest single, “Brand New Day,” Eugene IV leans into his activist spirit, sharing his vision of freedom.

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Charles Stephens is the Executive Director of the Counter Narrative Project. He has over 10 years experience developing innovative community engagement initiatives, piloting programs, and mobilizing black gay men. He has worked with such organizations as  AIDS United, AID Atlanta,  and Kaiser Family Foundation as a consultant, providing strategic guidance and thought-partnership around program development and policy advocacy with black gay and bisexual men. Past honors include: Georgia State University College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award, Gentlemen Foundation Gentleman of the Year Service Award, Arcus Leadership Fellowship,  and the Rockwood Leadership Institute Fellow for Racial and Gender Justice Leaders in the HIV/AIDS Movement. His writings have appears in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Creative Loafing, Atlanta Magazine, and he is a columnist at The Advocate. 

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Anthony Knight is the Founder, President & CEO of The Baton Foundation—a nonprofit organization that serves the emotional, intellectual and cultural needs of Black boys ages10-17. Before founding the Foundation, Mr. Knight worked for twenty-two years as a museum educator and consultant. Mr. Knight has extensive experience with and interest in African American history and culture, public and living history, informal education and Black youth. Mr. Knight’s work with The Baton Foundation reflects his ongoing interest in the issues and practices related to the collecting, preservation and interpretation of information about and material culture from the African Diaspora. Mr. Knight’s undergraduate work was in Spanish and English (Ohio Wesleyan University), and his graduate work was in museum education (The George Washington University). Mr. Knight also holds a degree in Spanish-to-English translation from the Núcleo de Estudios Lingüísticos y Sociales, Caracas, Venezuela. Mr. Knight is a New York City native.

See additional conversations and events taking place as part of the HANDS UP ATLANTA: Art & Activism series.


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