It’s Famous Friday!

Mandy Gonzalez

Mandy Gonzalez was born on August 22, 1978, to a Mexican father and white mother.

She has had a successful career as an actress and singer and is best known for her roles on

Broadway. These roles include the fabulous Angelica Schuyler from the musical Hamilton,

Elphaba from the musical of Wicked, and Nina Rosario in the original cast of In the Heights.

From an early age, Mandy Gonzalez’s grandmother saw her passion for music and signed

her up for singing lessons. She attended Saugus High School in Saugus, California. It was in

high school that Gonzalez got involved with theater. For one year, Mandy went to California

Institute of the Arts. However, when she was offered a job as a backup singer for Bette

Midler, she dropped out of college and went on tour from 1999 to 2000. After touring with

Midler, Mandy Gonzalez decided to settle in New York City. In 2001, Gonzalez was a

standby actress for the character of Amneris in the musical Aida, but after landing a role in

Dance of the Vampires, in 2002, she has been on stage ever since!

Mandy Gonzalez had to learn how to be an actress and stay true to her heritage along the

way. Gonzalez recalls as a child feeling different. In an article, Mandy says, “I was the only

Gonzalez in a Hebrew School, I didn’t want to be different.” Although she felt different,

Mandy Gonzalez learned to embrace who she was early on in her career. A video series

called “#HowIGotHere” tells the story of people and their path to success. One video, in this

series, highlights Mandy Gonzalez, where she talks about how she had to learn to embrace

her multiracial identity. Furthermore, she explains how she was so eager to be a part of the

show biz world, and that she was also considering changing her last name on the contract.

Then, she remembered her family and all their hard work.

I love what she told the agent, “I am Mandy Gonzalez with two Zs.” Mandy says that

this was the first time she truly learned about integrity and staying true to her heritage

roots. I am inspired by Gonzalez’s acceptance of her identity at an early age by being proud

of her heritage. After her first job on Broadway, Mandy received some harsh reviews;

however, despite this, she continued to pursue her dreams.

Further, Gonzalez also inspires me by her positive attitude and focus on the good in life

after being diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2019. For example, in one Instagram

post, Mandy writes, “…I have a range of emotions – worry and anger, for sure, but also

gratitude. Gratitude because along with millions of other brave people around the world, I

will fight it.”

Through this trial, Mandy Gonzalez wants to bring awareness about something that many

people must face. “It’s important to know that early detection is key. As a community, as a

society, we need to figure out a way so that everyone has access to a mammogram,” says

Gonzalez.

And if that wasn’t enough, Mandy Gonzalez is also the founder of the social media group

on Twitter and Instagram called the Fearless Squad. The Fearless Squad is an online

movement that is open to anyone who takes up the morals that define the group: Help each

other when we fall, Embrace differences, Look for the good, and Dream Big. Gonzalez even

named the title track of her first album, Fearless, in honor of the group.

As a multiracial theater kid myself, Mandy Gonzalez is such an awesome role model.

She embraced her heritage and followed her dreams to become a Broadway star, and tries to

empower all types of people through all walks of life.

 

Madelyn Rempel

Project Race Kids President

 

Source: https://www.survivornet.com/articles/hamilton-star-mandy-gonzalez-reveals-shes-

battling-breast-cancer-but-the-show-must-go-on/

 

It’s Famous Friday!

Amandla Stenberg

Amandla Stenberg is a multiracial American Actress. Her mother is African American and her father is Danish. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She began modeling for Disney at the age of four.  Amandla appeared in commercials as a child and landed her first feature film, Colombiana, in 2011. She is well known for her role as Rue in the 2012 film, The Hunger Games. She has been chosen for the lead role in four movies since 2017: Everything, Everything, The Darkest Mind, The Hate you Give, and Where Hands Touch. In an interview with Wonderland magazine in June of 2018 Amandla explained that she was gay and in a relationship with King Princess, a singer and song writer. Amandla won “Feminist of the Year” in 2015 by the Ms. Foundation for Women. In an interview with Variety Amandla stated “Something interesting has happened with me and Yara and Zendaya-there is a level of accessibility of being biracial that has afforded us attention in a way that I don’t think would have been afforded to us otherwise. Me and Yara and Zendaya are perceived in the same way, I guess, because we are lighter skinned black girls and we fill this interesting place of being accessible to Hollywood and accessible to white people in a way that darker-skinned girls are not afforded the same privilege.” Amandla received backlash for auditioning for the Black Panther Film. “I was in the audition process for it, then I decided to not continue with the process because I thought that it wouldn’t be right for me as a biracial, light skinned American to be playing “Shuri.”  In an interview with Variety she states “That was not a space that I should have taken up. It was so exhilarating to see it fulfilled by people who should have been a part of it and who deserved it and who were right for it. I just wasn’t.”There was then controversy over her being cast as the lead role STARR in The Hate You Give. The character had previously been portrayed as a dark skinned girl on the book cover. People accused her of going back on her word and taking a role she should have left for a black female. Stenberg responded “Do I aim to represent all Black girls? Hell nah! Do I expect all Black girls to feel represented by me? Absolutely not. We encompass a beautiful and expansive plethora of experiences, identities and shades and it would be ridiculous to assume that I should or could represent all of us. I want my sisters to know I navigate my industry with an acute awareness of how my accessibility contributes to the representation I am granted.” In my opinion, Amandla played the role of Starr extremely well. There is so much about different prejudices from all people that can be learned from the movie. I was thrilled to see that the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department was bussing Teens from their community to see the movie for free. What a wonderful tool to use between the community and police.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen President Emeritus

Picture Credit: Pagesix.com

 

It’s Famous Friday!

Beyonce

Beyonce doesn’t need a huge introduction. Most everyone knows her name. She is a multiracial singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and businesswoman. She is married to Jay-Z and they have three children. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Her father is African American. Her mother is Louisiana Creole, including African, French, Acadian/French-Canadian, as well as Irish and Spanish. Beyonce will be on the cover of Vogue this September. “When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African-American on the cover of the most important month for vogue, this is the first ever vogue cover shot by an African –American photographer.”  Beyonce found twenty three year old photographer, Tyler Mitchell, for her Vogue photo shoot. He is the first black photographer to shoot the cover in the magazine’s 126 year history. Beyonce did not do an interview for the article, but she submitted an essay. In the essay she discuses her heritage disclosing that she recently learned “that I come from a slave owner who fell in love with a married slave.” Make sure you pick up your own copy of Vogue magazine in December.

 

Picture Credit:  Enews.com

It’s Famous Friday!

Kali Hawk

Kali is an American multiracial actress, comedian, and model. Her ethnicity is African American, Native American, and German Jewish. Kali was raised in New York and known as a child prodigy. She began high school at the age of twelve. She attended the prestigious New York Arts University, SUNY. She eventually moved to Los Angeles to work as a model. She modeled in magazines and participated in music videos and commercials. Hawk was on Last Comic Standing in 2007. She has starred in movies such as Fifty Shades of Black, Couples Retreat, Bridesmaids, and Tyler Perry Presents Peeples. She has also appeared as Shelby in New Girl and now she is the co-star in the Adult Swim series Black Jesus.

 

Pic Credit: thesource.com

It’s Famous Friday!

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

The original television Wonder Woman and former Miss World USA is multiracial. Linda was born to a Mexican-American mother and a father of English and Scots-Irish ancestry. Lynda is an American actress, singer, song writer, and model. Lynda landed the starring role on Wonder Woman in 1975 and her acting career took off. She signed a Maybelline cosmetics contract in 1977. She was voted the Most Beautiful Woman in the World in 1978. Lynda has been married twice and has two children. In 1985 she left Hollywood to be with her new husband in Washington D.C. for several years. Lynda is a huge supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Pro-Choice rights for women, and legal equality for LGBT people. Lynda stated in an interview with Hollywood that some of her best memories were in Globe, Arizona with her Spanish family. She remembers her grandmother would make her a big stack of tortillas and they would make menudo together and it was about eating. Her father did not speak Spanish, but her mother’s family did and she pretty much understood everything. Lynda reported in the interview that over her lifetime she has felt reverse discrimination at times. People did not view her as Hispanic because her last name was Carter. They thought she did not look Hispanic enough due to her skin not being dark enough. She feels people are surprised when they learn she is half Latina. Lynda has always spoken very proudly of her entire heritage.

Project RACE Teens President

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Photo Credit: ew.com

Famous Friday

 

Kat Graham

Kat Graham

Katerina Graham, famously known as Kat Graham, was born on September 5, 1989 in Geneva, Switzerland. Her father is Americo-Liberian and her mother is Jewish. After her birth in Switzerland, her family moved to California. Thanks to her diverse ethnic background, she is able to speak four different languages.

Kat is not only a very talented actress, but also a singer, model and dancer. She is best known for acting in the hit television show ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ and also for doing a feature with the pop sensation Will.i.am. Kat Graham is also a great role model when it comes to important issues that we still encounter today, like equal rights. “Anyone who knows me know what I’m about – how much I’m into empowerment, equal rights, and everyone just loving themselves.” You will often find Kat Graham making statements like that one. This doesn’t just make her a great human being, but it makes her a great role model for the Multiracial community as well. She often vocalizes her experience with encountering racially prejudiced individuals. Kat doesn’t deny that these experiences are hard to deal with, but she will not let it stop her from living her life. Overall Kat Graham is a beautiful, inspiring Multiracial woman, who always encourages independence, individuality and self love.

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