It’s Famous Friday!



Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, or also known as Halsey, was born on September 29, 1994, to her Italian, Hungarian, and Irish mother Nicole Frangipane, and her African-American father Chris Frangipane. She is best known for her stage name Halsey.  She is an American singer, songwriter, and activist.

Prior to her successful music career, during her childhood Halsey was musically inclined when it came to instruments. She played the violin, cello, viola, and at 14 years old, moved on to perfecting the guitar. However, Halsey’s childhood wasn’t all rainbows and sprinkles. Throughout her life, her family relocated a number of times. Upon entering her adolescent years she had gone to six different schools. When she moved on to to high school, bullying became such a major issue that at 17, Halsey attempted suicide which left her in the hospital for 17 days. After this tragedy, similarly to her mother, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder leading her to a life of drugs. At 18, Halsey became drowned in financial troubles, and music was a way to pay her rent.

Shortly after her life took a turn down the wrong path, she began to write music and post videos on social media such as Youtube and Kik where she became known for her parody of a popular Taylor Swift song. In 2014, after singing with Astralwerks she chose Halsey as her stage name permanently. She began to write more serious songs and promoted  her music in a number of different ways.

In 2016, Halsey’s career took off when she became a featured vocalist and co writer in The Chainsmokers’ single “Closer” which debuted at number one for 12 consecutive weeks and became the most streamed song on Spotify. After that song the success began to roll in. She won four Billboard Music Awards, one American Music Award, one GLAAD Media Award, three Guinness World Records, a MTV Video Music Award, and finally, two Grammy Award Nominations. Halsey uses her celebrity platform to be a powerful and fearless activist when it comes to injustices in the world.

Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President

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White actors and actresses are jumping ship from playing “mixed-race” characters so that Hollywood can replace them with Black ones. Kristen Bell will no longer voice a biracial character on Central Park. Jenny Slate quit Big Mouth role saying Black characters should be played by Black people. Her role was as a young multiracial girl. This is the fact: Multiracial characters should be played by multiracial actresses.

Bell and Slate bought into the old plantation “one drop rule and you’re black.” It’s not necessary and is racist. These are just two examples of the racial reckoning happening in Hollywood and around the world as part of “Black Lives Matter.”

Kristen Bell said this: “Casting a mixed-race character with a white acts undermines the specificity of the mixed race and Black American experience.” So why should they be cast by someone who is Black and not someone who is multiracial? Bell made a huge deal out of the fact that she is relinquishing the role to someone who can give a much more accurate portrayal. For that to happen, they need to cast someone who can realistically give it more accuracy—a biracial person.

Jenny Slate has voiced Missy Foreman-Greenwald on the animated comedy “Big Mouth” since it first aired in 2017. She said, “Black characters on an animated show should be played by Black people.” What about their White sides? The fact again is: Multiracial characters should be played by multiracial actresses.

Slate said it was her duty to engage in “meaningful anti-racist action.” Huh? So she is racist against multiracial people instead of Black people and that’s all right? NO, it isn’t. Hollywood desperately needs to learn this lesson.

Another Open Letter


I wish I could thank Kwame Anthony Appiah for setting the multiracial movement back over fifty years, but I can’t. He is “the ethicist” for the NY Times and wrote a column this week titled “How Should I think about Race when Considering a Sperm Donor?” Basically, it is about a White, Jewish woman who is considering sperm donation and cannot decide if it matters that the father could be a donor of color.

First, Appiah manages to turn the donor of color into a black father. The baby’s father could be Hispanic, Hawaiian, Native American, or a thousand other combinations. But no, Appiah turns this baby black. I wonder if he has some type of race-meter that lets him know who is what racially.

Then he gives this woman two choices: raise the child as African American or let it pass as white. What?! What happened to letting the child be raised as biracial or multiracial? It is, after all, the largest growing population in the United States, according to the Census Bureau. In fact, it took us about fifty years to get the Census Bureau to accommodate people of more than one race on their forms and just as long for the Office of Management and Budget to accept us.

Of course the child will need to be taught about their entire heritage and we don’t need Appiah to remind us of that. The multiracial community has plenty of families that celebrate their wholeness, and are not torn apart by the old one-drop rule that says a person with any Black ancestry makes you Black. Are we trying to forget about black slavery but not about the mulatto people of slavery? Shame on you.

Appiah decrees that if you “look black” you must self-identify racially as Black, which just is not how it always turns out. I doubt if he has many friends who identify as biracial or multiracial. In the only example he could find, he reminds us that Barack Obama had a White mother and was raised by his White grandparents and he “turned out OK.” Sigh.

I think this mother would probably do best with a child her own race and Kwame Appiah should stop giving advice to interracial families.

Susan Graham is president of Project RACE, the national organization for multiracial children and adults. She is the author of Born Biracial: How One Mother Took on Race in America.

Important Information

How to be counted as multiracial on the 2020 Census.

We have been advised that another multiracial organization is putting out incorrect information about counting as multiracial on the 2020 Census when you are part Hispanic. They are saying that you can check Hispanic under the ethnicity question, check a race under the race question, and then write in “multiracial” under some other race. That will NOT get you counted as multiracial! You must check two or more races under the race question to be counted as “two or more races,” which is the Census Bureau terminology for multiracial.

The Census Bureau has provided us with some of the different ways to get counted as “two or more races” in the following examples:

* mark “Black or African American” and “Some Other Race” checkboxes and write in “Cuban” in both write-in areas

* write in “German” and “Honduran” in any write in area

* mark “Samoan” checkbox and write in “Mexican” in the “Some Other Race” write-in  area

* mark “White” and “Black or African American” and “Some Other Race” checkboxes and write in “Puerto Rican” on all three lines

* mark “Black or African American” checkboxes and write in “Dominican” and mark “Some Other Race” checkboxes and write in “Dominican”

* mark “White” and “Black or African American” and “Some Other Race” checkboxes and write in “Mexican” on all three lines

* mark “American Indian or Alaska Native” checkbox and write in “Puerto Rican” “Taino” “Blanca” “Negra” (in Spanish)

* write in “Afro-Latino” “Panamanian” “Black” in the “Some Other Race” write-in area


I hope this clears up any confusion and misinformation.

Susan Graham for Project RACE


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It’s Famous Friday!

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams III


Daniel Hale Williams III was born on January 18th, 1856, to his Socttish-Irish and African American father Daniel Hale Williams Jr., and African American mother Sarah Price Williams. He is best known for performing the first successful and documented pericardium surgery in the United States. He also created the first non-segregated hospital called Chicago’s Provident Hospital.

Prior to beginning his career as a successful general surgeon, he followed in his father’s footsteps of owning and running a barber shop with his sister. It wasn’t long before his attention turned completely to education and he began to pursue medicine.

For two years Williams was an apprentice to Dr. Henry W. Palmer where he was taught and educated to become a physician and surgeon. In 1880, Williams attended the Chicago Medical School, now known as Northwestern University Medical School, to complete his education and training. In 1883, after graduating college, Williams went on to open up his own practice in Chicago becoming the first African-American physician to work for the city’s street railway system. Due to the discrimination inflicted on African Americans that denied them the opportunity to be able to work for hospitals or be admitted as patients, he took action and founded Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses with the first interracial staff.

In 1893, Williams made history when he performed a successful pericardium surgery on a person who had a stab wound in the chest. Without the proper supplies to perform such a complex surgery, Williams beat the odds and became one of the first people to perform open heart surgery. His success led to him being named surgeon-in-chief at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C. by President Cleveland.

Williams is also known for co-founding the National Medical Association, and for being a charter member and the only African American member in the American College of Surgeons . Honorary degrees were given to him by Howard University and Wilberforce University.  In addition to these honors, a state historical marker is placed in Pennsylvania to recognize his accomplishments.



Skylar Wooten, Project RACE Teens Vice President


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It’s Famous Friday!


Happy Friday!  Today’s Famous Friday article is highlighting Jessica Karen Szohr.  Szohr is of Hungarian, White and African-America descent and was born on March 31st 1985 in Menomonee, Wisconsin.  She has four younger siblings Danielle, Sadie, Nick and Megan.  Jessica is an American actress who has been featured in films including Complications (2015) and Kingdom (2015).  She has also starred in the teen drama series Gossip Girl as Vanessa Abrams and joined the cast of Orville during the second season.  Szohr also began modeling at age 6.

From a young age, Jessica Szohr has expressed her creative abilities in different ways.  Besides modeling, Szohr played soccer for her school, served on her student council and even started a home-cleaning business with her friends, often cleaning her teachers’ homes.  At the age of 17, Jessica graduated high school a semester early and set off for LA to pursue her acting, with her mom.  While although she originally wanted to become an interior designer, her acting career took off in 2003 and the rest was history!

Not only is Szohr a successful actress but she is a relatable person too!  Along with the fact that she’s “…a huge fan of Cheetos”, she loves to see live music, enjoys yoga and uses a lot of dry shampoo!

I hope you all are safe and healthy during these difficult times.


Madelyn Rempel, President Project RACE Kids


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It’s Famous Friday!

Jordan Fisher


Happy Friday everyone! We hope you are staying safe and healthy during these troubling times. This week’s famous Friday is focused on Jordan Fisher. Jordan William Fisher was born on April 24, 1994, in Birmingham, Alabama. Jordan is said to be of Nigerian, Cambodian, and European descent. Because Jordan’s mother was only 16 when he was born, Jordan was adopted and raised by his grandparents, Rodney and Pat Fisher. Jordan was homeschooled until high school, but even from home, he found his passion for musical theatre. In approximately the 5th grade, Jordan was discovered by a talent scout and later signed with Disney Hollywood Records.

Jordan’s talents led him to play roles in hit productions such as The Hustler, Liv and Maddi, and Teen Wolf. Jordan was also cast in Broadway’s hit musical Hamilton. While Jordan’s acting career has been quite successful, that is not his only talent. Jordan is also known for singing, song-writing, dancer, and streaming. Jordan was featured on the 25th Season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, where he and his partner, Lindsay Arnold, won the competition. In 2015, Fisher released his first album titled Jordan Fisher. After his first able achieved success, Jordan has since released ten more albums. He has worked alongside major talents such as Lin-Manuel Miranda and his songs have gotten into major films such as Disney’s Moana and the Toy Story franchise.

Away from music and television, Fisher has also sustained a successful Twitch stream. Jordan is known for games such as Fortnite and Valorant and has played with major gaming influences like Ninja, Timthetatman, and DrLupo. Jordan signed a deal with gaming management company Loaded in September of 2019, putting him alongside more big names such as Dakotaz and Cloakzy.


Happy Birthday, Jordan!

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President



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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


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





It’s Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: Dr. Jonathan S. Holloway 

Dr. Jonathan Holloway has been named as the twenty first President of Rutgers University and is expected to step into the position in July. Holloway will be Rutgers’ first non-white president since the college was founded more than 250 years ago. Rutgers board of governors Chairman Mark Angelson welcomed Holloway saying, “He has a giant heart and a sense of humor. … His academic credentials are through the roof.”

It is certainly true that Dr. Holloway has a very impressive academic and professional history. He went to college at Stanford, where he received a bachelor’s degree with honors in American Studies and played football with Senator Cory Booker. Holloway went on to earn a Ph.D. in history from Yale. He began his academic career at UC San Diego and later joined the faculty at Yale in 1999. Holloway‘s academic work focused on post-emancipation American history and black intellectual history. He is a supporter of affirmative action and reparations for slavery. He became a full professor of African American Studies, History, and American Studies at Yale in 2004. He chaired the governing body of Yale’s residential colleges, the Council of Masters, from 2009 to 2014. He was appointed Dean of Yale College in 2014. Holloway left Yale to become Provost of Northwestern University in 2017.

Holloway, who is 52, called himself honored to lead Rutgers, its 70,000 students enrolled and 23,000 employees. “We are still living in an era of firsts, which is exciting and shameful to be honest,” Holloway said.

Dr. Jonathan Holloway mostly grew up in Montgomery, Alabama and comes from a family of high achievers. In fact, both his brother and his sister also attended Stanford and his brother Brian played in the NFL at the same time my dad did. Holloway’s father, Dr. Wendell Holloway, was a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force and had successful careers in government, corporate lobbying and higher education. Wendell concluded his military career on the faculty of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, where he was the first African American to teach. Holloway’s mother Kay Trent Holloway was an elementary school teacher.

The Rutgers community is obviously delighted to welcome Holloway.

Derrick Darby, a Rutgers professor in social and political philosophy and the founding director of Rutgers Social Justice Solutions Research Collaboratory said, “The appointment of Jonathan Holloway as the 21st president of Rutgers University is an historic achievement. It cements the institution’s commitment to merging diversity with academic and athletic excellence.”

Kimberly Mutcherson, professor of law at Rutgers Law School, said, “There’s often something disconcerting about celebrating firsts that feel like they’ve been such a long time coming. But I couldn’t be happier to welcome Dr. Holloway to Rutgers. He brings stellar credentials to the role of president and a commitment to representation and inclusion that can only serve us well. His appointment is a welcome reminder that excellence comes in a wide variety of people.”

Holloway also authored and edited several books including Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 and Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity. He wrote an introduction for a new edition of W.E.B. Du Souls of Black Folk.


Holloway is married to Aisling Colón, and they have two children.


  • by Karson Baldwin, President, Project RACE Teens

Photo Credit: Yale University

It’s Famous Friday!

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter was born on June 26, 1974 in New Jersey. His mother, Dorothy, is of Caucasian and European decent, while his father, Sanderson, is African-American. Jeter’s father, who played baseball at Fisk University, assimilated Derek into the sport at a young age. Trying to instill a sense of responsibility into the young athlete, Jeter’s parents made him sign a contract every year, outlining a set of rules for his behavior. The contract made is so that Derek was to always keep a positive outlook, and could not tell his parents that he “can’t” do something. With this mentality and his love for the New York Yankees, Jeter aspired to be a professional baseball player.

In high school, Jeter ran cross country and played both basketball and baseball. Developing into a star shortstop, Jeter batted over .500 his sophomore, junior, and senior year. His success in the sport led to him being recognized as an All-State player his senior year as well as the Gatorade Player of the Year. After his high school years, Jeter had planned to attend the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship, but instead declared for the 1992 MLB Draft.

Derek Jeter’s professional baseball career started when he was drafted 6th overall out of Kalamazoo Central High School. After a few years in the minors, Jeter made his MLB debut in 1995, where he eventually won Rookie of The Year. His career took off from there. The legendary Yankees shortstop became a 14-time all-star, a 5-time Gold Glove Award, and Silver Slugger Award winner. Additionally, the player nicknamed, “The Captain” led his Yankees to 13 American League Division Series, 6 American League Championship Series, and won 5 World Series Championships, establishing the Yankees organization as a dynasty during this time period. His wild success as a postseason player lead to his new nickname, “Mr. November”, the month in which the MLB playoffs take place.

In addition to being an MLB star, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996. The organization’s purpose is to reward students that obtain high academic marks and maintain a proactive lifestyle. Jeter is also affiliated with the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Soles4Souls, and the Stand Up to Cancer organizations.

On January 21st, Jeter was elected into the Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Receiving 396 out of 397 ballots, Jeter was one vote shy of being unanimously elected, a title held only by baseball legend Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter along with Larry Walker will be inducted into Cooperstown on July 26th, solidifying Jeter’s mark on the game of baseball.

Matheson Bossick

Project Race Teens Vice President




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