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Choose Your Weapon: Views from the Front Lines of the War for Black Lives
Image credits: Power to the People. © E. Mackey
About This Exhibition
After viewing the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder, photojournalist E. Mackey felt broken. He understood that he didn’t have the political or financial means to enable immediate change, but he knew that helplessness was not an option. He possessed powerful tools – his talent, his social platform, and an unrelenting resolve to bring his vision to fruition – and, with camera in hand, he set out on a near four-month journey across 11 cities to document the movement for Black lives during the summer of 2020.
Choose Your Weapon: Views from the Front Lines of the War for Black Lives is the visual representation of that journey.
In this exhibition, Mackey’s poignant imagery illustrates a multi-faceted movement. His carefully curated photographic and video content captures protestors from the front lines and provides viewers a first-hand account of the movement from the perspectives of a spectrum of individuals who were present. Although the exhibition primarily chronicles the historic protests of summer 2020, images of key individuals taken in 2021 were included for additional context.
It is Mackey’s desire for Choose Your Weapon: Views from the Front Lines of the War for Black Lives to serve as a window into the depth and complexities of the movement for Black lives, all the while inspiring individuals to identify the tools they have at their disposal to use as weapons in the fight for equity, for all.
About The Artist
E. Mackey is a photographer and author from Miami, Florida. He found acclaim as a musician, fashion designer and entrepreneur before earning his Bachelor's degree in Clothing Textiles and Merchandising from Florida State University in 2010. It was in 2011, when he first picked up a camera, that his career as a photographer began. He explored the streets of South Beach in Miami, taking photographs of the homeless and sharing their stories on social media.
By 2012, his growing love for photography led him to launch Dope Heart Media, an agency that provides photography, video production, graphic design and other creative services. Through Dope Heart Media, Mackey created content for brands including Amazon, eBay, Google, Twitter, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Pfizer, and spirits producers Rémy Martin and Hennessy.
In 2018, after obtaining an MFA from Full Sail University, Mackey coupled his degree and the experiences and relationships he gained managing Dope Media to develop Blvck Spades. Founded in 2019, the lifestyle brand started as a deck of cards and expanded to include clothing, housewares, electronics and accessories.
The summer of 2020 was a turning point. Feeling compelled to become actively involved in the movement for Black lives, Mackey began documenting the historic protests. His images from the demonstrations were used by global news outlets including CNN, The Washington Post and Democracy Now and were featured in a commercial for Doritos.
Mackey later self-published the photo book "Lift Every Voice" to tell the story of the movement and to provide context from a Black perspective. This led to his establishing a publishing company, Black Creator Collective. Learn more at lifteveryvoicebook.com.
Works From Choose Your Weapon
Here are some of the works included in the Choose Your Weapon: Views from the Front Lines of the War for Black Lives exhibition.
View these and other impactful works in person. Get admission tickets online.
Breonna, 2020. © E. Mackey
Declaration, 2020. © E. Mackey
Campfire, 2020. © E. Mackey
Liberty, 2020. © E. Mackey
Push, 2020. © E. Mackey