Our black is beautiful. Our black spans the colors of the rainbow. Our black is ours. Last night, CNN anchor Soledad O’ Brien brought a usually hush-hush topic like colorism into living rooms across the nation with the fifth installment of her Black in America series, “Who is Black In America?”The topic is centuries old, but still able to spark heated debates in the African American community. The documentary highlighted the (1)Drop initiative, a portrait documentary that profiles multiracial Americans who declare their identities, and address the frustrations of being forced to define themselves in boxes. We loved the open, honest and sometimes painful look at color issues that permeate generations.
Click through the gallery below to check out the photos from the project.
Photo: Noelle Théard © 2012 BlackStarCreative LLC
Soledad O’Brien: “Black/Latina”
“People ask me ‘What are you?’ all the time. People tweet me that question. I used to take great offense, like immediately get annoyed; partly because I didn’t think the question came from a very good place. I think I read it as questioning my value and my reasons for being wherever I was. But now, I think it’s two-fold: One, I think that because I’m a journalist, people are really just trying to understand who I am. ‘You’re somebody I see on TV, but I don’t know you in person, so who are you?’ So often, it’s not really about the question. It’s about ‘What side are you on?’ and ‘What perspective do you bring?’ Then two, I think that part of my job as a journalist is to educate people about stories and some of these stories I’m a part of. I’m part of ‘Black in America’ even in the context of who is the filter of the story. So I’ve really gotten much better at taking that question and I’ve stopped hating it so much. It’s my job to elaborate and explain for people who I am. My mom is Afro-Cuban. My dad is White and Australian. I’m Black. I’m Latina.”