It’s Famous Friday!

 

Barack Obama

Barack Obama is one of the most inspiring biracial individuals in American history.  He is known worldwide, for being the 44th President of the United States and is often referred to as, “the first black president.”  While this is partially true, a more accurate descriptor of his racial identity would be to say that he is, “the first Biracial, Black and White president,” of the United States. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4th, 1961, to a black father from Kenya, named Barack Obama Sr. and a white mother from Kansas, named Ann Dunham. He just celebrated his 57th birthday.

Since the end of his presidency, Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, continue to live in the Washington, D.C. area about two miles from the White House.  They enjoy their “quiet lifestyle,” that is more out of the public eye. He is catching up on rest through vacationing and spending time playing one of his favorite sports, golf.  He has made a deliberate attempt to not interfere or be vocal about the politics of the new administration, knowing that his words still carry enormous weight.

Their older daughter Malia moved out to attend Harvard university in August of 2017, but their younger daughter remains at home.  Since Sasha Obama is graduating from high school in 2019, they thought it would be best not to disrupt her education by moving to another state.

There are two main professional agendas that Obama has focused on since leaving the White House.  In the past year and a half, he has worked diligently to establish the Obama Foundation.  With headquarters in Chicago, their mission is “to equip civic innovators, young leaders, and everyday citizens with the skills and tools they need to create change in their communities.” Barack Obama has a passion for raising up young leaders and aims to be the inspiration to a younger generation of people, like Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were to him.

Secondly, he has spent his time entering the entertainment world, establishing a new production company called Higher Grounds Productions.  “One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life, and to help them share their experiences with a wider audience,” said former president Obama in a statement released by Netflix. “That’s why Michelle and I are so excited to partner with Netflix — we hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples and help them share their stories with the entire world.”

We will keep our eyes on the Obamas as excitement still swirls around the idea of the Obama’s re-entering politics. This time with Michelle as a potential presidential candidate, and Barack as a biracial, first man.

 

Alexis Cook

Project RACE Teen Co-President

 

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

It’s Famous Friday!

Danielle Herrington

Danielle Harrington
Danielle Herrington is multiracial and has just been named Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition’s
latest cover model. Danielle is from Compton, California. She is an American model who has
modeled for Sports Illustrated and Victoria’s Secret. Herrington has not disclosed a lot about her
parents or family history. She has known she wanted to model since the age of eight. Herrington
is 5 ft 10 in her hair is dark brown and her eyes are hazel. She began modeling at the age of 13
and it became a full time career two years ago. She has been featured in GQ magazine by an
editorial; Rising Model Danielle Herrington is Already a Pro on Instagram. Danielle recently told
Good Morning America that she was in tears when she received the news that she was picked
as the cover model for the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She said “I put in so much
work, I reached my dream.”
Makensie Shay McDaniel
Project RACE Teens President
Photo Credit: Earnthenecklace.com

Famous Friday!

Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez

Selena is an American singer and actress. She was born in 1992 and grew up in Grand Prairie, Texas. Her mother is part Italian ancestry, and her father is of Mexican descent. Selena’s parents divorced when she was five years old.  She was raised primarily by her mother. She remembers being very angry due to her parents’ divorce. Her acting career started on the kids show Barney and Friends when she was seven years old. Her music was introduced in 2009 with her debut album “Kiss and Tell”. Selena has had several hit singles including: Love You Like a Love Song, Hands to Myself, and The Heart Wants what it Wants. She starred as Alex Russo on the Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place. Regarding her Hispanic heritage, Gomez stated, “My family does have Quinceaneras, and we go to the communion church.” Selena can speak Spanish, but not fluently. In 2015 she confirmed she had been diagnosed with Lupus. Selena recently revealed she has had a kidney transplant this past summer due to her battle with Lupus. Her best friend gifted her kidney. She is now doing much better and in the process of releasing an album.

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teen Co-President

Photo Credit: Glamour.com

Famous Friday!

Madison Keys
Madison Keys
You may have heard about the “Black Girl Magic” at the 2017 U.S. Open Women’s Singles Tournament last week. Among the four semi-finalists, the excited media chatter reported, were three black women! This is a first for a sport that has historically been predominately played by white athletes. Well for this week’s Famous Friday, we are going to take a look at one of those women – Madison Keys, who is actually multiracial and pretty magical!!
When asked about the significance of three of the four women in the semi finals being African American, Madison replied, “I’m very much right in the middle,” she said. “I don’t really think of it. I don’t really identify myself as white or African-American. I’m just me. I’m Madison.”
Madison and her three sisters, Sydney, Montana, and Hunter are the children of Christine (white) and RIck (black) who are both attorneys. Keys’ interest in tennis started very young because she liked Venus Williams’ white tennis dress. She participated in the Chris Everett Academy beginning at age 9 and joined the WTA tour at age 14. When she won a match in that tourney she became the youngest woman ever to do so. She was the first American woman to debut in the top 10 since Venus’ sister Serena did it in 1999. But Venus is not her only tennis inspiration. She says her idol is Roger Federer because she likes the way he stays so calm even when things are going badly.Now at age 22, Madison has become one of the very best in the world.  The 2017 US Open was her first Grand Slam final. She beat Elise MertensTatjana Maria, 17th seed Elena Vesnina, 4th seed Elina Svitolina, qualifier Kaia Kanepi and 20th seed CoCo Vandeweghe advancing to the finals. Madison lost to her close friend Sloane Stephens in straight sets. The award presentation following their match showed both their friendship and their class.
Madison, who currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida, has been a tennis star since she was just a kid, but in many ways is just like other girls her age. She likes Taylor Swiftmusic and has a thing for polar bears. She loves to bake desserts and says if she were not a tennis phenom she would consider owning her own bakery! Her specialty is M&M cookies. She also really wants a BMW!
– Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President
photo: Getty via www.express.co.uk

Famous Friday

Ne-Yo

NeYo

Ne-Yo was born in Camden Arkansas as Shaffer Chimere Smith. He is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. His parents were both musicians. His father is of African American and Chinese descent and his mother is African American. When he was younger his parents separated and he moved with his mother to Las Vegas, Nevada where he was raised and given more opportunities.  Ne-Yo has had great success in the entertainment industry evidenced by hit songs that have topped the charts from all over the world. He was a featured artist on Beyonce’s Irreplaceable song and Rihanna’s Take a Bow.  Ne-Yo has won three Grammy Awards. He was recently a judge on Jennifer Lopez’s new NBC show, World of Dance.

 

Makensie Shay McDaniel

Project RACE Teens Co-President

(Photo Credit: Rap-up.com)

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