Famous Friday

Famous Friday: DeShone Kizer

Deshone Kizer and Family
Last week my hometown Cleveland Browns played their 2017 preseason home opener against the New Orleans Saints and, man was I excited to get a look at our second round draft pick, DeShone Kizer. He did great. In June, Kizer signed a four-year, $4.94 million contract with the Browns that includes $2.42 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $1.73 million. But the starting QB slot for the Browns is still very much up for grabs.

The strong-armed 6’4″ Kizer is working hard to grab it and his performance last week may go a long way! He has been trying to show his grasp of Hue Jackson’s offense. He’s returning to the field following practice for extra work. He has run additional sprints and simulated plays he didn’t get to run in practice all by himself. Bud Shaw of Cleveland.com said, “If there were a bucket and a squeegee, he’d turn his attention to the practice facility’s windows.”

“[The coaches] have a good idea of when a quarterback is ready to go out there,” Kizer said. “I think the way that they’ve thrown me into the fire in the last couple months has allowed me to grow quickly and to become comfortable pretty fast.”

Kizer grew up in nearby Toledo, Ohio with his parents, Mindy and Derek, brother, Dayven and sister, Maelyn. Both of his siblings are still in high school. Dad Derek was a college basketball player and DeShone followed in his father’s footsteps by playing basketball in high school, but he also played baseball and football, which kept him busy year round. His high school coach thought he could have been a top collegiate basketball player, but thankfully for Cleveland fans, he chose to pursue football at the next level. DeShone played college ball at Notre Dame and as he began his career in the NFL said, “I will forever be Irish at heart.”

And, one of the youngest players on the team, at just 21 years old he surely has a bright future ahead in pro football. Many believe he’s going to be one of the great ones! After last week, I’m a believer. And I sure hope so, because the Browns have been waiting a long time.

— Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Source: heavy.com

Famous Friday

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

Alicia Augello Cook was born in New York City, NY in 1981. She is professionally known as Alicia Keys. She is an American Actress, pianist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Keys father is half African American and half Jamaican; her mother is of Italian and Irish decent. Her parents separated when she was two and she was primarily raised by her mother. At four Alicia got a part in The Cosby Show as one of Rudy’s sleepover friends. Alicia began piano lessons at the age of seven. During her teenage years, Keys would hang out with her friends in Harlem. She has reported she had a diverse group of friends growing up in New York. Her friends were of diverse backgrounds including: African American, whites, Asians, Dominicans, and Hispanics. “I felt I could talk to all of them, my mixed race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures.” At twelve she attended Manhattan’s prestigious Professional Performance Arts School and she majored in choir. She attracted the attention of record companies while in high school and signed with Arista Records in 1998. Keys debut album, Songs in A Minor, went platinum five times over. Keys married hip hop producer Swizz Beatz in 2010 and they have two sons. Alicia Keys has won many awards including 15 Grammy awards. She continues to self identity as “black”. “Any woman of color, even mixed color, is seen as black in America, so that’s how I regard myself.”

Category: Blog · Tags: , ,

Famous Friday!

Shemar Moore

Moore

Shemar is a forty-seven year old American actor and model. He is best known for his role in the Young and the Restless, Malcolm Winters. His father is African-American. His mother is white with Irish and French-Canadian ancestry. Shemar has stated his birth name was taken from his parent’s first names which were Sherrod and Marilyn, Shemar. He explained that in his parents were very proud of their interracial relations however, it was still socially inacceptable in the sixties and seventies. His parents wanted his name to be a remembrance of the love they had for each other. Shemar’s parents allowed him to embrace both his white and black side and did not want him to have to pick a side.  Shemar has stated he does not see himself as a black actor. He stated “I am very proud to be black but I’m as much black as I am white.” “I am very aware, especially in this country, that I am perceived and viewed as a black man because of the color of my skin. I am extremely proud to embrace the white side of me. In a perfect world, my wish is for people to see past color stereotypes and simply look at the character and personality of a person.”

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teens President

Jessica Alba – Famous Friday

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba is an actress and entrepreneur born in Pomona, California. Her father is Mexican American and her mother, Danish French Canadian. As an actress she has stated that she was told at times she was not Latin enough to play a Latina role or not Caucasian enough to be a leading lady. So they encouraged her to play the exotic one. She was 17 when she began auditioning for roles and has stated she has never let racial stereotypes hold her back. For her people’s thoughts and comments motivated her to become a leading lady to show that girls can look like her and have leading roles. She founded the Honest Company and stated she faced a lot of the same criticisms. People would say to her “you are an actress, what do you know about business? Go be a face somewhere.” Again, this made Alba more determined. Her business is extremely successful and she created a skin care line in hopes that it will help women of color love the skin that they are in. She stated it was always very difficult for her to find the right make up tones growing up and she wanted to help with enhancing who you are instead of covering you up and trying to look like someone else.

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project Race Teens President

Famous Friday

Ryan Gosling

This week’s Famous Friday features interracial power couple – Eva Mendes and Ryan Gosling. According to US Magazine, The dynamic duo quietly tied the knot in early 2016 after being together for over 5 years. They have two beautiful multiracial daughters, Esmerelda and Amada.

Eva Mendes was born in Miami, Florida, and she is of Cuban-American descent. She is a singer, actress, model, and designer. You have probably watched her in major films like Hitch, Training day, and Stuck on You. She has also been the face of several advertisement campaigns for huge companies including: Revlon, Cartier, and Calvin Klein.

Ryan Gosling is of English, French Canadian, and Scottish descent. He is an actor most famously known for his role as Noah in The Notebook. You may also recognize him from his role in La La Land, Crazy Stupid Love, or my personal favorite Remember The Titans. Over the course of his career he has racked up multiple Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

One time when asked about his family Ryan said, “It’s heaven, it’s like walking through a field of flowers everyday – I live with angels.” I love that we are beginning to see more and more interracial power couples in Hollywood. I also love that I am seeing more interracial couples on sitcoms and commercials. It is awesome, especially considering that not even 100 years ago interracial marriage was illegal. Remember to take time to celebrate interracial couples and multiracial people everyday, and especially during Multiracial Heritage Week which is coming up soon.

Photo courtesy of US Weekly

Rashida Jones

Rashida-Jones-(23)

On February 25, 1976 Rashida Jones was born to  Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. Her mother is of Jewish descent, and her parents were shocked when Peggy chose to date out of her race and religion. At the time her father, Quincy, was a poor, struggling young man with a dream. Now he is a very successful media mogul, musician, and producer.

Ms. Jones has pretty much done it all. Rashida is a Harvard graduate, a phenomenal actress, comic book author, producer, singer, and screenwriter. She was recently nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie by the NAACP. Rashida is also open about how being multiracial plays a part in what roles she gets, “When I audition for white roles, I’m told I’m “too exotic.” When I go up for black roles, I’m told I’m “too light.” I’ve lost a lot of jobs, looking the way I do.”

    She has also gotten real about other experiences linked to her ethnicity, “Finally I was leaving for college, for Harvard. Daddy would have died if I turned Harvard down. Harvard was supposed to be the most enlightened place in America, but that’s where I encountered something I’d never found in L.A.: segregation. The way the clubs and the social life were set up, I had to choose one thing to be: black or white. I chose black. I went to black frat parties and joined the Black Student Association, a political and social group. I protested the heinous book The Bell Curve [which claims that a key determinant of intelligence is inherited], holding a sign and chanting. But at other protests-on issues I didn’t agree with- wondered: Am I doing this because I’m afraid the black students are going to hate me if I don’t? As a black person at Harvard, the lighter you were, the blacker you had to act. I tried hard to be accepted by the girls who were the gatekeepers to Harvard’s black community. One day I joined them as usual at their cafeteria table. I said, “Hey!”-real friendly. Silence. I remember chewing my food in that dead, ominous silence. Finally, one girl spoke. She accused me of hitting on one of their boyfriends over the weekend. It was untrue, but I think what was really eating her was that she thought I was trying to take away a smart, good-looking black man-and being light-skinned, I wasn’t “allowed” to do that. I was hurt, angry. I called Kidada in New York crying. She said, “Tell her what you feel!” So I called the girl and…I really ripped her a new one. But after that, I felt insidious intimidation from that group. The next year there was a black guy I really liked, but I didn’t have the courage to pursue him. Sometimes I think of him and how different my life might be if I hadn’t been so chicken. The experience was shattering. Confused and identity-less, I spent sophomore year crying at night and sleeping all day. Mom said, “Do you want to come home?” I said, “No.” Toughing it out when you don’t fit in: That was the strength my sister gave me.”

    Rashida inspires so many people to rise in spite of adversity,to overcome any challenges that come our way, and to succeed in whatever you set out to accomplish.

 

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Mariah Carey

mariah-carey-rockafeller-center-christmas-tree-lightingAs we enter the holiday season, it is only fitting to feature one of the queens of holiday music, Mariah Carey. She moved to Manhattan the day after her high school graduation to pursue her career. Carey is an extremely talented singer, producer, songwriter, and actress. She even currently holds the record for most number one debuts on the Billboard Hot 100. She has sold over 80 million records and won several Grammies! Over the course of her career she has accumulated a net worth of over 500 million dollars.

Mariah is 46 years old now and primarily focused on parenting her two children. However, she is still expanding her career. Mariah Carey’s collaboration with MAC Cosmetics recently released, and has already proved to be a fan favorite. Some may argue that there aren’t many things that this woman can’t do! I personally find these words from her particularly inspiring, “You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength, and say, ‘I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.’” May we always remember to believe in our true, authentic selves and who we are becoming! Happy Holidays!
Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens President
Photo courtesy of popbuzz

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Kamala Harris

Most of the world was expecting November 8, 2016 to mark the election of the first female president of the United States.  It did not. Many believe, however, that it was the day when America met the woman who could “shatter that glass ceiling”… perhaps as early as 2020.

Kamala Hakamala_harris_official_attorney_general_photorris is California’s new Junior United States Senator-Elect. Harris is both the second black woman and the first Indian-American ever elected to the Senate. Yes, she is multiracial, the daughter of an Indian-American Hindu mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan Harris, a breast cancer specialist, who immigrated from India, and a Jamaican-American father, Donald Harris, a Stanford University professor. Before this accomplishment, Harris was the first woman, the first African-American, the first Indian-American and the first Asian-American to become California’s Attorney General.

“My mother had a saying ― ‘you may be the first to do many things, make sure you aren’t the last,’” Harris told CQ Roll Call in June. “We need to work to ensure the leaders reflect the people they are supposed to represent, and until we achieve that full representation, I think we should understand we are falling short of the ideals of this country.”

People have compared Harris to President Obama, who himself is a Kamala Harris fan and endorsed her senate campaign, and many leading Democrats believe she could one day occupy the Oval Office. As Attorney General she has had the opportunity to advocate for the issues that are important to her. She has led on Black Lives Matter, rehabilitating first-time drug dealers, internet privacy issues. Following her election as senator, she vowed to protect immigrants from the policies of Trump.

 “It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant,” Harris said. “Do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are.”

 – Karson Baldwin, President Project RACE Kids

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Meghan Markle

meghan-markleMeghan Markle is a beautiful and talented multiracial actress. She has recently been in the headlines due to her rumoured romance with Prince Harry. While I understand that is what most major news outlets are talking about, it isn’t what I want to talk about.
I recently came across one of the best articles I have ever read when it comes to being Multiracial. The star of the article was none other than, Meghan Markle. My heart was stolen from the first paragraph where she said, “’What are you?’ A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day. ‘Well,’ I say, as I begin the verbal dance I know all too well. ‘I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.’ A mouthful, yes, but one that I feel paints a pretty solid picture of who I am. But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do. While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio, and continue this proverbial two-step, I instead give them what they’re after: ‘My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.’” The whole article is pure gold, and I will leave the link so that you all can read it in its entirety.

http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/news/a26855/more-than-an-other/
I STRONGLY recommend that you take the few minutes to read this. To me, it is beautiful to know that so many multiracial people share similar experiences. I think that it makes our community that much more awesome!

— Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens President

Photo courtesy of ELLE.

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Dak Prescott

image1-1Dak is currently a quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys. He is a 23 years old. He is the son of Nathaniel and the late Peggy Prescott. He has two older brothers and an older sister from his father’s previous marriage. Dak’s parents split when he was very young and he was raised with his two older brother by his mother Peggy who worked long hours at the Huddle House. Dak learned to throw the football in the field behind his trailer in Pine Creek Estates Mobile Home Park in Princeton, LA.

Dak’s brother, Tad, stated “No stage has been too big for him, it’s his upbringing. It’s being multiracial.” They are Caucasian, African American, and Native American. His brother stated “We see all sides of everything, and we know what there is really nothing to be upset about. Our mom taught us the difference between the need and the want.”

Dak was extremely close to his mother and she was hard on him. They struggled financially growing up and he never had a car while in high school, but she made sure he got back and forth to practice every day. His mother set a good example about working hard and she was his toughest critic. Past coaches have said she instilled in him an indescribable work ethic.  Dak’s mom was diagnosed with colon cancer during his freshman year at Mississippi State. On November 20, 2013 she lost her battle with cancer. Dak wears a blue bracelet with the number 4 on it and the acronym M.O.M which stands for what his mother taught him. Mind. Over. Matter.  It also says “Prescott Pride.”  He chose the jersey number four because his mother’s birthday was September 4th. He still continues to text’s her before each game.

Peggy’s brother explained how tough she was, he stated “I mean, she was dating a black man in the deep south in 1979.” She was the daughter of a high school principal and she was shunned when she dated Nate Prescott who was black. People made jokes behind her back and some friends became enemies. She received whispers and dirty looks when she took her multiracial children in the grocery store. Peggy’s brother said Peggy didn’t care. She preached kindness and acceptance to her children and she got joy from helping others. Dak’s brother states that he believes his moms confidence in who she was gives them confidences in who they are.  Dak has stated “I am who I am, what you see is what you get. I don’t care what anyone says. I am who I am.”

On the day he got his letter of intent from Mississippi State his mother showed him the scholarship papers from LSU. Dak choose Mississippi State because he said “I want to go where I’m the difference, I want to make something out of nothing. I want to be the reason someone is great.” During his career at Mississippi State he set 15 career records, 15 season records, and eight game records. He led his team to a No. 1 overall ranking in 2014 and an Orange Bowl appearance.

Dak said “From a little kid, the moment I picked up a football, I’ve been a Cowboy’s fan and I wanted to play in the NFL.” Dak now has his opportunity and he is shinning. The Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reports, “He’s better than anybody thought he was.” I am sure we will be hearing much more about Dak Prescott.

  • Makensie Shay McDaniel, Project Race Teens President