One woman’s quest to uncover her heritage

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2015-08-29 02:23Z by Steven

One woman’s quest to uncover her heritage

The Today Show

Bliss Broyard writes about her journey to discover her hidden black roots

Bliss Broyard grew up a “Wasp” in Connecticut with her mother, father and brother. For 23 years she was white, but it wasn’t until her father was on his deathbed that she found out he was “part-black.” After her father died, Broyard began a quest to learn more about her hidden heritage and adopt it in her life. She wrote about it in “One Drop: My Father’s Hidden Life.” Here’s an excerpt:..

Read the excerpt here.

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Writer Jesmyn Ward reflects on survival since Katrina

Posted in Articles, Interviews, Media Archive, Mississippi, United States, Videos on 2015-08-27 00:43Z by Steven

Writer Jesmyn Ward reflects on survival since Katrina

PBS NewsHour

Gwen Ifill, Co-Anchor & Managing Editor

Jesmyn Ward, Associate Professor of English
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

After writer and Tulane University professor Jesmyn Ward survived Hurricane Katrina while staying at her grandmother’s house, she wrote “Salvage the Bones,” an award-winning novel about a Mississippi family in the days leading up to the devastating storm. She joins Gwen Ifill to discuss how the storm affected the rural poor who could not escape, and now, who may not be able to return.

Read the transcript here.

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Exhibition: Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood

Posted in Arts, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-08-24 00:34Z by Steven

Exhibition: Zun Lee, Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
Contemporary Gallery
233 4th Street, NW
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
2015-06-09 through 2015-08-29

Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12:00-18:00; Saturday, 10:00-15:00

Through intimate black-and-white frames, the viewer gains access to often-overlooked moments in the lives of African American men whom Lee has worked with since 2011. Lee brings into focus what pervasive father absence stereotypes have distorted – black men who define parental presence on their own terms and whose masculinity is humanized, not viewed with suspicion. Using his struggle with father absence as inspiration, Lee examines a complex subject matter with profound vulnerability, resulting in a richly woven narrative that is deceptively simple yet multidimensional.

For Father Figure, Zun Lee used his personal journey of discovery and identity formation to examine manifestations of black fatherhood largely ignored by mainstream media. The book has been shortlisted for the Aperture Foundation PhotoBook Awards and named a winner in the Photo Books category of the 2015 PDN Photo Annual competition.

Zun Lee is an award-winning photographer from Toronto, Canada who was named onto PDN’s 30 List in 2014. His visual storytelling has been widely featured in The New York Times and other publications..

Zun Lee, Father Figure: Exploring Alternate Notions of Black Fatherhood is presented in partnership with the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph and is made possible through the generous support of the Blue Moon Fund, and Hampton Inn and Suites.

For more information, click here.

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My Response to Critics Regarding My For Harriet Article about Mixed Race Identity

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-08-18 19:55Z by Steven

My Response to Critics Regarding My For Harriet Article about Mixed Race Identity

I’m Not Mixed Up, I’m Fully Mixed

Shannon Luders-Manuel

On Wednesday, For Harriet published my article “What it Means to be Mixed Race During the Fight for Black Lives.” It quickly took off and has received over 23,000 Facebook shares/likes by the time of this blog post. I’m extremely humbled and honored to be sharing the experiences and viewpoints of so many mixed race people. Today I took the time to read what some of the critics had to say about my article. Here is a general response to the ones that seemed the most common…

Read the entire article here.

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Jamaican British | Raymond Antrobus | Spoken Word

Posted in Autobiography, Media Archive, United Kingdom, Videos on 2015-08-18 17:26Z by Steven

Jamaican British | Raymond Antrobus | Spoken Word

Chill Pill Shorts

Raymond Antrobus, Poet, Lead Educator
Spoken Word Education MA Programme; Co-founder of @ChillPillUK & @KHPoets

A poem by Raymond Antrobus about the many contradictions of a mixed race identity

Some people would deny that I’m Jamaican British.
Angelo nose. Hair straight. No way I can be Jamaican British.

They think I say I’m black when I say Jamaican British
but the English boys at school made me choose Jamaican, British?…

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Press Release for That Daughter’s Crazy

Posted in Articles, Arts, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-08-12 23:54Z by Steven

Press Release for That Daughter’s Crazy

Paradox Smoke Productions

Some apples don’t fall far from the tree. Paradox Smoke Productions is proud to announce the launch of their new documentary, That Daughter’s Crazy, starring Rain Pryor. That Daughter’s Crazy is directed by Elzbieta Szoka, and produced by Sam Adelman and Daryl Sledge, and will be ready for film festivals in early 2014.

Carrying on a career as an actor/singer/comedian, beyond the shadow of her legendary father, Rain Pryor is an original, bold, and energetic voice, who brings us influences of her upbringing with a deep love and respect for her father. Her quest for individuality is exemplified in her award-winning one-woman show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, which dramatizes growing up in Beverly Hills in a bi-racial, half Jewish/half black household.

The film features footage, photos, press clippings of Rain’s life and career, as well as various interviews. A social commentary, the film explores themes of diversity, relationships between parents and children and a profound perspective of one entertainer’s journey.

Paradox Smoke Productions is devoted to developing unique and provocative stories; a fusion of narrative of films, documentaries, and theater pieces.  Other credits include the Academy Award nominated short documentary film, Salim Baba, as well as Screen Door Jesus, Welcome to Academia and Beautiful People.

“What attracted me to our project at first was an electrifying performance of Rain Pryor in her highly acclaimed one woman show. As an “intellectual/artistic globetrotter” from what is still called “Eastern Europe,” I was curious what hid beneath her evocative title. The religious and performance ritual at its best! Axé, Rain! Shalom, my brother,” said Elzbieta Szoka, Director.

All media inquiries in reference to That Daughter’s Crazy, please contact Sam Adelman, tel: 212.600.5920 or email:

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Brazil’s colour bind

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, Slavery, Social Science, Videos on 2015-08-03 01:46Z by Steven

Brazil’s colour bind

The Globe and Mail
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Stephanie Nolen, Latin America Correspondent

Brazil is combating many kinds of inequality. But one of the world’s most diverse nations is still just beginning to talk about race

When Daniele de Araújo found out six years ago that she was pregnant, she set out from her small house on a dirt lane in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro and climbed a mountain. It is not a big mountain, the green slope that rises near her home, but the area is controlled by drug dealers, so she was anxious, hiking up. But she had something really important to ask of God, and she wanted to be somewhere she felt that the magnitude of her request would be clear.

She told God she wanted a girl, and she wanted her to be healthy, but one thing mattered above all: “The baby has to be white.”

Ms. de Araújo knows about the quixotic outcomes of genetics: She has a white mother and a black father, sisters who can pass for white, and a brother nearly as dark-skinned as she is – “I’m really black,” she says. Her husband, Jonatas dos Praseres, also has one black and one white parent, but he is light-skinned – when he reported for his compulsory military service, an officer wrote “white” as his race on the forms.

And so, when their baby arrived, the sight of her filled Ms. de Araújo with relief: Tiny Sarah Ashley was as pink as the sheets she was wrapped in. Best of all, as she grew, it became clear that she had straight hair, not cabelo ruim – “bad hair” – as tightly curled black hair is universally known in Brazil. These days, Sarah Ashley has tawny curls that tumble to the small of her back; they are her mother’s great joy in life. The little girl’s skin tone falls somewhere between those of her parents – but she was light enough for them to register her as “white,” just as they had hoped. (Many official documents in Brazil ask for “race and/or colour” alongside other basic identifying information.)

Ms. de Araújo and Mr. dos Praseres keep the photos from their 2005 wedding in a red velvet album on the lone shelf in their living room. The glossy pictures show family members of a dozen different skin colours, arm in arm, faces crinkled in stiff grins for the posed portraits. There are albums with similar pictures in living rooms all over this country: A full one-third of marriages in Brazil are interracial, said to be the highest rate in the world. (In Canada, despite hugely diverse cities such as Vancouver and Toronto, the rate is under five per cent.) That statistic is the most obvious evidence of how race and colour in Brazil are lived differently than they are in other parts of the world.

But a range of colours cannot disguise a fundamental truth, says Ms. de Araújo: There is a hierarchy, and white is at the top.

Many things are changing in this country. Ms. de Araújo left school as a teenager to work as a maid – about the only option open to a woman with skin as dark as hers – but now she has a professional job in health care and a house of her own, things she could not have imagined 15 years ago. Still, she says, “This is Brazil.” And there is no point being precious about it. Black is beautiful, but white – white is just easier. Even middle-class life can still be a struggle here. And Sarah Ashley’s parents want her life to be easy.

Brazil’s history of colonialism, slavery and dictatorship, followed by tumultuous social change, has produced a country that is at once culturally homogenous and chromatically wildly diverse. It is a cornerstone of national identity that Brazil is racially mixed – more than any country on Earth, Brazilians say. Much less discussed, but equally visible – in every restaurant full of white patrons and black waiters, in every high rise where the black doorman points a black visitor toward the service elevator – is the pervasive racial inequality…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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How should a dancer look? Ask Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera

Posted in Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-07-20 01:38Z by Steven

How should a dancer look? Ask Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show

Melissa Harris-Perry, Host

Dancers Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera discuss their pioneering work as, respectively, the first African American and Filipino American principal ballerinas at the American Ballet Theater.

Watch the video (00:07:46) here.

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The Global African – Mexican Afro-descendants

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Census/Demographics, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Videos on 2015-07-17 15:03Z by Steven

The Global African – Mexican Afro-descendants

The Global African

Bill Fletcher, Host

Randal Archibold, Bureau Chief for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean
The New York Times (Author of the article “Negro? Prieto? Moreno? A Question of Identity for Black Mexicans”)

William Loren Katz
Author of: Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage

Each week on “The Global African” host Bill Fletcher, Jr. addresses issues facing Africa and the African Diasporas.

Mexico’s Afro-descendant population for years has been virtually invisible; now, for the first time ever, the next national census will include the category of Afro-Mexican. Fletcher interviews NY Times Bureau Chief for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean Randal Archibold about Mexico’s Afro-descendant population. The next segment of the program deals with a fascinating yet virtually unknown chapter of US history, the biological and cultural bonds established between African slaves and Native Americans. Professor William Loren Katz, author of Black Indians-A Hidden Heritage and 40 other books on African-Americans and Native Americans, describes his research on relations between Africans and Afro-descendants and Native Americans.

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Early Afro-Mexican Settlers in California

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, United States, Videos on 2015-07-13 18:05Z by Steven

Early Afro-Mexican Settlers in California

C-SPAN: Created by Cable

Host: California Historical Society

Professor Carlos Manuel Salomon, author of Pio Pico: The Last Governor of Mexican California, talked about Mexicans of African descent who were some of the first non-Indian settlers in California. Many came from Sinaloa and Sonora, Mexico, with the Anza Expedition in 1775, and helped to shape the character of California, building and establishing pueblos and ranches that grew into towns such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Monterey, and San Jose. Several became wealthy landowners and politicians, including Pio Pico, the last governor of Mexican California.

Watch the video (01:21:44) here.

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