I’m both. Everything and nothing.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-03-24 01:31Z by Steven

Do you identify as Black, mixed — how do you see yourself?

I’m both. Everything and nothing.

Clay Cane, “Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes: “I Don’t Think About Color”,” Black Entertainment Television, (June 25, 2013). http://www.bet.com/news/music/2013/06/25/brittany-howard-of-the-alabama-shakes-i-don-t-think-about-color.html.

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Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes: “I Don’t Think About Color”

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-23 01:16Z by Steven

Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes: “I Don’t Think About Color”

Black Entertainment Television

Clay Cane

Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes: “I Don’t Think About Color”

If you haven’t heard of Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes, the 24-year-old is making jaws drop in the music industry. Armed with ferocious vocals, passionate lyrics and a dynamic presence — on and off stage — Howard as the front woman of the Alabama Shakes is bringing rock and blues back from the grave for a new generation.

On Sunday night at the Capital Theatre in Port Chester, NY, the Grammy-nominated Alabama Shakes performed to a sold-out show, performing music from their latest album Boys & Girls. Hours before hitting the stage, Brittany was prepping for her first one-on-one interview with BET.com.

Just finishing a cigarette, Howard sat down to discuss her roots, music and fame. Although surprisingly reserved, the Athens, AL, native possessed a quiet strength. Interviews, celebrity and folks wanting to know your business is new for Brittany and the band who never strived be the next big thing in music: “It’s a miracle that we are sitting in Port Chester, New York doing an interview with BET. Like, what the hell?”

When did you first fall in love with rock music?
Sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen, she always had solid golden oldies on the radio. The grittiest music, I was like, “That’s my s–t.”

You’re often compared to ’60’s rocker Janis Joplin. How do you feel about that comparison?
People hear a powerful female singer in a rock and roll band and they say, “Janis Joplin.” I think people just make that comparison because it’s easy. But I don’t think I sound like her at all. What do you think?…

…What is your racial background?
Mom is white, dad is Black.

Do you identify as Black, mixed — how do you see yourself?
I’m both. Everything and nothing…

Read the entire interview here.

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Halle Berry and the Resurgence of the Tragic Mulatto

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2012-07-31 02:01Z by Steven

Halle Berry and the Resurgence of the Tragic Mulatto

The Root

Clay Cane

The furor caused by Berry’s assertion that her daughter is black reminds us how confused Americans remain about race.

Halle Berry’s recent comments in Ebony magazine have brought up the complex subject of racial identity, which still seems to confuse many Americans. Asked if her daughter, Nahla, is African American, the Oscar-winning actress answered, “I feel like she’s black. I’m black and I’m her mother, and I believe in the one-drop theory.”
Blogs raged, and suddenly everyone was an expert on dissecting the social construction of race. Even many black websites roared that Nahla wasn’t black. It was as if a chapter from an Alex Haley book had come to life on the Web.
Berry has never used the words “mixed” or “biracial” to describe her racial identity. She identifies as a black woman. Similarly, President Barack Obama, Faith Evans, Jasmine Guy and even the late, great Bob Marley all embraced having a white parent—but didn’t identify by degree of blackness. Apparently, they subscribe to the belief that either you are black—or you are not.
In 2011, black is no longer praised as beautiful; everyone wants to be “multi.” People proudly run through their race, ethnicity and nationality as if it’s a résumé. “Mixed,” “multiethnic,” even the deeply offensive word “mulatto,” are resurging as the hottest labels around. Here’s another new term I recently heard: “double-raced.”…

…Today everyone wants to be a tragic mulatto, not knowing the history. The mulatto is a classic stereotype that first made an appearance in 19th-century American literature. Eventually this archetype became box office gold for films like 1934’s Imitation of Life and 1949’s Pinky

…Race is not an individual choice; it’s a social choice. The key question is, “Do you or do you not have white privilege?” If you don’t, then you are a black person in America. If Nahla Ariela Aubry were white or could truly exist in this country under the imaginary label of “biracial,” then this volatile discussion about her color wouldn’t have started. As Halle told Ebony, “I had to decide for myself, and that’s what she’s going to have to decide — how she identifies herself in the world. And I think, largely, that will be based on how the world identifies her. That’s how I identified myself.”…

Read the entire article here.

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New Americans: Rise of the Multiracials: A Documentary

Posted in Census/Demographics, Family/Parenting, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States, Videos on 2012-07-28 20:14Z by Steven

New Americans: Rise of the Multiracials: A Documentary

A Work-In-Progress Documentary

Eli Steele, Producer

With more Americans marrying across the color line today than before, it is inevitable that the racial makeup of America’s face will forever change. Of the nine million individuals that identified themselves as multiracial on the 2010 census, more than 50 percent were under 18 years of age, including filmmaker Eli Steele’s two children, Jack and June. By 2050, they and their multiracial peers are expected to account for 25% of the total population.
This fate was long predicted by early Americans such as James Madison and Frederick Douglass who knew the color line could not keep the races apart for eternity. And now that this fate is upon us, what does it mean for a country that has shed so much blood in the name of race?

With this question on his mind, Filmmaker Eli Steele, who is multiracial himself, has embarked on a journey through America to explore various aspects of the American landscape for clues to what the future holds. So far, he has encountered individuals ranging from a U.S. Army soldier who refuses to self identify his race to a radio host who identifies as Black American despite a white mother and black father. Aside from interviews, Steele plans to explore the role of multiracial individuals in key moments in American history, the ongoing demographic shifts that are rapidly redefining once firm racial boundaries, and pockets of resistance to the multiracial baby boom.
Steele also plans to journey into the history of his family for to be multiracial is a fate that is at once deeply personal and political. Why did the ancestors of his children make the decisions to cross the color line, especially at times where there were no societal advantages in doing so? By learning more about the world they came from and the decisions they made, Steele hopes to provide his children with a better understanding of the world and people they come from. 
To date, Steele has discovered there are two Americas at odds with one another. There is the private America of individuals has advanced race relations to the point that 85 percent of 18 to 29 year olds and 73 percent of 30 to 49 year olds would consider marriage to another race. On the other side, there is the public America of government institutions and corporations that continue their race policies despite an obvious absurdity: if an individual is more than one race, then what is race? Will America reconcile its race policies with the irreversible trends of private America or will there always be a disconnect?

The outcome of this new front on the culture war around race will determine whether America continues its legacy of racial strife or finally looks past skin color to the person’s content of character. At the end of his journey, Steele hopes to return to his two children, Jack and June, with a better and realistic understanding of how to prepare them for the America they will live in 2050.

Interview subjects include Clay Cane, Jennifer Ceci, Jen Chau, Marcia Alesan Dawkins, Eric ‘Charles’ Jaskolski, Angela Mckee, Farzana Nayani, Jared Sexton, and Ken Tanabe.

For more information, click here.

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