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The Beautiful Black Rainbow

August 17, 2012

I absolutely adored this image and commended Mr. Mackey’s talent in creating such an exceptionally beautiful collage.  However, I observed something troubling.  Why were the lighter images on the bottom disproportionately female and the darker images on the top disproportionately male?  I felt that this feeds into the western concept  of lighter skin being associated with the feminine and darker skin being associated with the masculine.  I expressed this in a comment on Mr. Mackey’s blog (I can’t seem to find it though) and I asked why not include Cicely Tyson, Nina Simone, Viola Davis and other iconic darker hued beauties on the upper darker rows.

Please see Carlton Mackey’s thoughtful email response below. 

“Thank you for your comments Ama. You are not alone in your sentiments about the original 50 SHADES OF BLACK design. It is an honest and fair critique. The original design is both a statement and a question. I am making social commentary on multiple levels with it. What you point to is at the heart of what I was trying to communicate. If we are honest, we’d have to acknowledge that in the landscape of universally held sex symbols in the black community, the women that you mention don’t make the list. I’m not speaking on my personal opinion, but rather what I think would be widely accepted as truth if we did a “poll”. Nina Simone may be the only exception, but I would argue that while she fits in a category of high esteem in the black community. She falls short of being commonly called a sex symbol. What we may need to ponder collectively is why is it the case that there are more universally accepted light skinned female sex symbols. Why is it that being a dark skinned man is more appealing? With all of this in mind though I created 50 SHADES DARKER. It is solely about dark skinned women reclaiming their beauty. It picks up the conversation at the point where 50 SHADES OF BLACK leaves off. Let me know what you think about it.

Please Visit:

My response: I love it.  These images are simply gorgeous and I want both on canvas – thank you.

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