Acclaimed Actress Performs Play on Race, Love

Acclaimed Actress Performs Play on Race, Love

The Daily Nexus
University of California, Santa Barbara’s Independent, Student Run Newspaper

Carissa Quiambao

William Zhou / Daily Nexus

Award-winning actress and playwright Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni performed her one-woman play, “One Drop of Love: A Daughter’s Search for Her Father’s Racial Approval” at the UCSB Multicultural Center Theater yesterday evening.

DiGiovanni, who has appeared in the Academy Award-winning film “Argo,” is the co-creator and co-host of award-winning weekly podcast Mixed Chicks Chat and a co-founder and co-producer of the Mixed Roots Film & Literary Festival.

Her solo performance, “One Drop of Love,” co-produced by Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chay Carter, begins with DiGiovanni counting the number of “whites” and “blacks” in the audience in a portrayal of a United States Census Bureau employee in 1790, then transitions into her present-day narrative meeting her husband and getting married in 2006, only to have her father decline attending her wedding…

…DiGiovanni alternates between scenes of racial categorization by the U.S. Census Bureau in the late 1700s and her personal narrative about growing up as a multiracial youth in cities across the United States and in West and East Africa. Using filmed images, photographs and animation, she explains the development of “race” in the U.S. and how it affected her identity and her relationship with her black, Jamaican father.

Over the course of the play, DiGiovanni explores her family history in order to reconstruct her racial identity and confront her father about his absence at her wedding. She said this process gave her insight into her heritage and ultimately allowed her to feel more comfortable with her personal identity.

“Today, especially having done this and reconnected with my dad, I feel stronger in my black identity as well as in my mixed identity,” DiGiovanni said. “I feel stronger, and I feel so much more relaxed about it. Unfortunately, it took a long time, and it might take you guys a long time, but just know that you will feel comfortable at some point. I think the sooner we can all get there, it will really help in terms of looking at racism.”…

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