Our Black Is Ours: (1) Drop Portrait Documentary Shines Light On Multiracial Americans

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.”

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Comments

  • flyer27

    #5, giving her a baby with the quickness. ras clat dred

  • Mississippi Librarian

    Black folk did not make the one drop rule, that system was created and enforced by whites who wanted to make sure they maintained power. Traditionally in the African American community there have been all shades from vanilla to dark and we were all bound by the commonality of the struggle against racial oppression and for the most part we got along just fine. It did not matter if you were yellar or chocolate the white man was going to treat one Black person the same as he treated another so there was no need to do all of the bi-racial, multiracial, stuff. Ultimately it is up to the person to decide which culture is more suitable for that particular person, and everybody else should just honor that person’s decision.

  • dddooonnnttt

    Work Miss Angelina!

  • Habitual Guest

    They all seem self-possessed and (like most Black women I know) breathtakingly beautiful. A white woman who once stared at a relative and me to the point of irritation approached us and said that she always considered us the most beautiful race of women on the merit of our skin alone. She was gorgeous in her own right but said that they only had variety in terms of eye and hair color, but we, with our myriad complexions, were infinitely beautiful.

    • Fed_Up18

      I have always said that black & white together make more beautiful babies than black or white alone. I am just glad that people take this the right way instead of the wrong way (maybe it’s because I’m careful to always say it positively).

  • NegRican24

    Multi racial and multi ETHNIC are NOT the same thing most of these people are black wth a mixed ethnicity not race and to be technical ALL Af Ams and Hispanics( NOT Spanish cause they are from Europe and just try calling someone from Spain hispanic and see what response you get) are the same make up racially- African, European, and Aborigine( which means original people of that region). All of this misinterpretation of race/ethnicity is just one more reason why there is SO much division among people who are SCIENTIFICALLY black.

  • prettyred

    Im black! People ask what Im mixed with because my skin is so pale and I tell them Im black mixed with black. I find it disconcerting that I identify with black but the rest of the world wants me to embrace something thats just not there. If I were to say I am mixed people would smirk that i was not claiming black. Both my parents are black all of my grandparents are black, even my GREAT grandparents are black. I just come from a long line of high yella people,