Yes We Can by Jess McKenzie

Day 23 — Poster posted on February 22, 2023

Jess McKenzie

Located: Detroit, MI

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a multi-talented designer from Detroit, Michigan who is self-taught in web, graphic, and brand design. Through my company, Black Velvet Media, I create brand identities for clients. I also love to connect with other artists through my blog, The Creative Armory.

When I’m not working, I enjoy acrylic painting, traveling, and designing new products for my online shop (

What is the inspiration behind your poster design?

Over the years, society has perpetuated the stereotype that beauty, intelligence, or heroism are traits found primarily in whites. This messaging, which can be found in movies, advertisements, and more, has helped to reinforce the misguided belief that those with Black skin cannot embody these qualities. With this poster, I wanted to combat that negative belief system and show that yes, WE CAN be beautiful, strong, educated, and successful. There is nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it.

Why do you love being creative?

I love being creative because it allows me to speak in ways that can’t always be verbalized. I find joy in meeting like-minded people and solving real-world problems using design. With my creativity, there is no limit to where I can go in life and the fun I get to have along the way.

Tell us about your experiences in the design world…

My experiences in this industry have helped me develop into someone that knows her worth and power. No matter where my career takes me, I know how important it is to show up as my authentic self and just do my best.

How can we create a more inclusive design world and ensure that Black people are represented?

I am a fan of the saying ‘acknowledgment is the first step to recovery.’ People in positions of power, especially event organizers, need to stop pretending that Black designers are so rare that they should be constantly excluded from the platforms they belong to. Powerful initiatives often start with a simple conversation, and I think more people need to raise questions when inclusion and diversity are not a part of the discussion.

In general… How can we make more equity or equality for us?

By advocating for one another and creating opportunities to fill the gaps. If you have the means, provide training courses through your organization or offer programs centered around things like financial literacy and contract negotiation. Every little bit helps.

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