Happy Juneteenth!

Happy Juneteenth!

Every year on June 19th many in our country celebrate a significant day of liberation in African American History. 155 years ago, today, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas bringing news of the end of the Civil War. General Granger Proclaimed “All slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves”, and while this statement only partially rang true, and we continue to fight for racial equity today, the freedom it proclaimed is absolutely worthy of celebration.

My father is from Texas, and our family history tells us that my great-great-great grandparents were freed on this day in 1865. As a family, we’ve acknowledged Juneteenth for as long as I can remember, so despite the tragedies and racial tensions of the time, it is very exciting for me to see this holiday getting increased recognition this year. Forty-eight of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have now recognized Juneteenth as either a state holiday, ceremonial holiday, or day of observance. The only two states that do not yet recognize Juneteenth are Hawaii and South Dakota.

Whether it is barbecuing a goat, the way my ancestors did, reflecting on our rich history while drinking red soda and eating watermelon, as is still the custom in my family, watching one or more of the movies listed below, or supporting black-owned businesses. Take today to remember our resilience and celebrate our freedom in whatever ways you enjoy!

Karson Baldwin, President, Project RACE Teens

Photo Credit: https://corporate.target.com/article/2020/06/juneteenth

Documentaries

 

13th by Filmmaker Ava DuVernay

Where to Watch: Netflix

Synopsis: The 13th Amendment of the constitution abolished slavery — except in the case of those convicted of a crime or imprisoned. With a number of historical facts and expert opinions, 13th offers insight into what the black community has faced from law enforcement and the judicial system for the last 155 years.

 

Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement

Where to Watch: YouTube

Synopsis: An original documentary film that chronicles the evolution of the Black Lives Matter movement through the first-person accounts of local activists, protesters, scholars, journalists, and others.

 

America to Me by Director Steve James

Where to Watch: Starz

Synopsis: Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Steve James examines racial, economic, and class issues in contemporary American education in this multi-part, unscripted documentary series.

 

I Am Not Your Negro

Where to Watch: YouTube, Amazon Prime, iTunes

Synopsis: Director Raoul Peck envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, Remember This House. It is a journey into black history that connects the Civil Rights movement to #BlackLivesMatter. It questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond.

 

Strong Island

Where to Watch: YouTube

Synopsis: The forces of family, grief, and racial injustice converge in this Oscar-nominated documentary exploring the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford’s brother.

 

16 Shots

Where to Watch: Showtime, Hulu, Sling, Amazon Prime

Synopsis: A documentary examining the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke and the cover-up that ensued.

 

Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Vudu, Paramount

Synopsis: This docuseries re-examines the life and legacy of Trayvon Martin, whose death became a catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement.

 

Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Hulu

Synopsis: This artful and intimate meditation on legendary storyteller Tony Morrison examines her life, her work, and the powerful themes she has confronted throughout her literary career.

 

Uppity: The William T. Ribbs Story

Where to Watch: YouTube, Google Play

Synopsis: This documentary profiles a defiant driver who challenged racial barriers in American auto racing, becoming the first black man to race in the Indy 500.

 

Whose Streets?

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime, Google

Synopsis: Told by activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? Is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising and a powerful battle cry from a generation fighting, not for their civil rights, but for their right to live.

 

The Murder of Fred Hampton

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime

Synopsis: A documentary on the slain leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Fred Hampton, killed in 1969 by Chicago police while he slept in his apartment.

 

Based-On-A-True-Story Films & Shows

 

When They See Us by Filmmaker Ava DuVernay

Where to Watch: Netflix

Synopsis: A limited biopic series about the Central Park Five tells the story of Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. They were coerced into giving false confessions about their involvement with the 1989 assault and rape of a jogger in Central Park.

 

Antwone Fisher

Where to Watch: Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, YouTube

Synopsis: A 2002 biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington. It is based on the autobiographical book of Antwone Fisher called Finding Fish.

 

Just Mercy

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu

Synopsis: A powerful true story that follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson and his battle for justice as he defends a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence.

 

Selma

Where to Watch: YouTube, Google Play

Synopsis: Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally desegregated the South, discrimination was still rampant in certain areas, making it very difficult for blacks to register to vote. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his followers pressed forward on an epic march from Selma to Montgomery for the right to vote.

 

Fruitvale Station

Where to Watch: Tubi

 

Malcom X

Where to Watch: Netflix

 

Film & TV

 

Do the Right Thing directed by Spike Lee

Where to Watch: YouTube

Synopsis: It is the hottest day of the year on a block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn; a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever.

 

American Son

Where to Watch: Netflix

Synopsis: An estranged couple reunite in a Florida police station to help find their missing teenage son.

 

Dear White People

Where to Watch: Netflix

Synopsis: Based on the film of the same name, Dear White People follows a group of students of color at Winchester University, a predominantly white Ivy League College.

 

The Glass Shield

Where to Watch: YouTube & Amazon Prime

 

If Beale Street Could Talk

Where to Watch: Hulu

 

The Hate U Give

Where to Watch: Free on All Digital Outlets (FandangoNOW, Amazon, Apple TV…)

 

Monsters and Men

Where to Watch: Free on Youtube

 

The Secret Life of Bees

Where to Watch: Free on All Digital Platforms (Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, and more)

 

Get Out

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime or YouTube

 

#blackAF

Where to Watch: Netflix

 

All Day and a Night

Where to Watch: Netflix

 

Moonlight

Where to Watch: Netflix

 

 

Comedy

 

 

Chris Rock: Tambourine

Where to Watch: Netflix

 

Michael Che Matters

Where to Watch: Netflix

 

Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia

Where to Watch: Netflix

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New Faces at Project RACE!

NEW FACES AT PROJECT RACE

 

New Project RACE Kids President!

 

Madelyn Rempel is 12 years old and the oldest of three siblings.  She was born in NJ and has lived in Durham North Carolina and now resides in upstate NY with her family.  Madelyn is part of a multiracial family.  Her mom was born in the Dominican Republic and her dad is from Minnesota (Danish and German) “I get to discover different types of cultures because I am multiracial and I get to learn about different parts of the world through my family.”

Madelyn is an excellent student.  Her favorite subject is social studies; she loves to learn about people.  She loves to sing, act and dance.  She recently shined in her role as Scuttle off from the Little Mermaid Junior in her 6th grade school play.  Madelyn loves to help others.  One of her greatest joys has been to start her own business (Helping With a Cup Cake) she bakes cupcakes and sells them to give the money to a non for profit organization to help the poor.

Madelyn wants to bring awareness to her community about being a part of a multiracial family and is excited to join the Project Race youth leadership team as president of Project RACE kids.

 

New Project RACE Teens Vice-President!

 

My name is Nadia Wooten, and I am a senior attending Klein High School located in Spring, Texas. While attending Klein High, I have been an officer in two organizations, such as Bringing Exceptional Students Together, also known as B.E.S.T. and National Honor Society; however, when I heard about Project RACE, I was extremely excited to be a part of an organization  that addresses the issues and concerns of multiracial young people such as myself.  Currently, I am ranked among the top 2% of my graduating class.

Although I am heavily involved in my academics, I also enjoy playing the cello, honing my skills in various disciplines of art like photography, drawing, painting, laughing, traveling, and fashion.  In addition, I play tennis for recreation.  Using my enjoyment of tennis and my involvement in B.E.S.T., I am currently in the process of starting a program, called Love All in the fall.  This program will include basic skills clinics taught by tennis professionals to children with intellectual disabilities.  My objective in starting this program is to help establish a connection with this particular population of students along with their parents with those in the community.

A Very Special Famous Friday!

Alexis Cook

On behalf of Project RACE, I am so excited to introduce my awesome new Project RACE Teens Co-President, Alexis Cook! Alexis is talented, smart and dedicated and we are delighted to welcome her to our team. Whether it be as a leader at her high school or out serving in her community, Alexis is all about loving people and bringing them together.

“I’ve often heard my parents say, build a longer table, not a higher fence,” Alexis shared. “This quote speaks to the need for conversation and community, versus bias and separation.  I got to grow up being both sides of the same coin. I come from both an African American and Caucasian background and I am proud to be both!

Alexis is the youngest of three incredible girls born to Wade and Debbie Cook. Wade is black and Debbie is white.  Both of Alexis’ older sisters are students at Duke University. When asked about her multiracial heritage, Alexis replied, “Growing up in an interracial family was a blessing because I got to learn from two cultures instead of just one. “

Alexis embodies our core values and philosophies here at Project RACE. She is about to enter her senior year at Eaglecrest High School in Aurora, Colorado, where she is in the top one percent of her class and will be serving as Student Body President. Alexis is compassionate and caring; energetic and enthusiastic.  She’s also a great public speaker! She is a servant youth leader with HOPE worldwide and a youth ministry student leader with the Denver Church of Christ. She has also worked in a nursing program with a young African immigrant from Arusha, Tanzania to help the newcomer practice her English and assimilate into American culture. A golfer, cheerleader, and editor of her school magazine, Alexis is busy with many valuable things, but is determined to make a contribution to multiracial advocacy.

I have had the honor to work alongside some amazing teen advocates here at Project RACE and am looking forward to partnering with Alexis to see what our team can accomplish for the growing multiracial population in the coming year.

-Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo: Alexis Cook and Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-Presidents

It’s a Royal Famous Friday!

Famous Friday: HRH Meghan Duchess of Sussex

There was clearly no other choice for this week’s Famous Friday. The whole world is talking about HRH Meghan, Duchess of Sussex! Her wedding! Her dress! Her carriage ride… and her race.

The last time we featured multiracial actress Meghan Markle on Famous Friday was in November of 2016 and at that time former PRT Co-President Lexi Brock wrote about Meghan’s “rumored romance” with Prince Harry. Well what do you know… the rumors were true! Fast forward a year and a half and we’ve got ourselves a Duchess!

We were visiting my sister in Chicago on Royal Wedding Day and set the alarm to be up to watch our multiracial princess (Yes, I know she is not officially given the title of princess, but I don’t care.) arrive at 6 AM. In many ways, this felt to us very much like Barack Obama being inaugurated President. Our people, those who look like us and have family histories that may mirror our own, reaching places we’ve never seen before impacts our hearts and minds more than we’d ever imagined. Like the White House, the palaces of British royalty were not known for being diverse or particularly inclusive, until now. This makes us believe that there is nothing we can’t do.

Twitter lit up with reactions to the many ways that Megan weaved her culture into the ceremony. The African American preacher, the gospel choir and the teenage cellist were all representative of the side of the bride’s heritage that is new to the royal family. And the fact that her heritage was celebrated and highlighted during the ceremony made this groundbreaking union even more wonderful.

At Project RACE, we really love advocates. One of the cool things we newly discovered about Meghan in all the wedding coverage was that she was an advocate from a very young age. As an 11 year old, she contacted Proctor & Gamble after seeing a commercial for Ivory dish soap that implied doing dishes was a woman’s job. Her efforts led to the company changing the commercial, swapping out “women” for “people.”  No wonder she has gone on to great position.

Many do not know that, as groundbreaking as this union is, HRH Meghan is not be the first biracial royal. That title likely belongs to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who lived during the 18th century. Charlotte was married to King George III and was queen for nearly 60 years, until she died in 1818. She’s the grandmother of Queen Victoria, the great-great-great-great-grandmother of the current Queen Elizabeth and the namesake for the American city of Charlotte, North Carolina. She also shares a name with the latest addition to the royal family, Princess Charlotte.

Another interesting note, is that we have another wonderful wedding we are excited to share about as our very first PRT President, Ryan Graham has married his beautiful bride Shelby this past weekend!

– Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo Credit:   News.com.au

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: Salma Hayek Pinault

image1-2Salma is a film actress, producer, and former model. She was born on September 2, 1966 in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Her father is of Lebanese descent and her mother is of Mexican/Spanish ancestry. She began her career in Mexico before moving to the United States in 1991. She landed her fist major role in Desperado in 1995 after venting her frustrations on a late night Spanish talk show about the roles given to Latino’s. Robert Rodriquez and his producer wife were watching and loved the intelligent, opinionated woman. Hayek’s movies have included: Frida, Puss In Boots, Desperado, Dogma, Across the Universe, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Wild Wild West. Hayek is a naturalized United States Citizen; however she has stated she tries to represent her Mexican roots loud and proud. She married French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault in 2009. She has reported she is trying to keep her daughter immersed in all three cultures: Mexican, American, and French. Salma’s activism has included increasing awareness on violence against women and discrimination against immigrants.

 

Project RACE Teens President

Makensie Shay McDaniel

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Chrissy Teigen

download (1) (1)This week’s Famous Friday will be featuring the ever so fabulous Chrissy Teigen. Chrissy was born on November 30, 1985 in Delta, Utah. She is of Thai and German ancestry. Her family moved around quite a bit in her childhood before finally settling down in Huntington Beach, California. It was there that she was discovered by a photographer, and soon after that her modeling career took flight. One of her first ever modeling jobs was being cast as an alternate for the popular game show Deal or No Deal. Since then she has modeled for brands spanning from Nike to Nine West. She has also appeared in several magazines, including Italian Vogue!

Chrissy is married to the super talented singer songwriter John Legend. They first met at one of his video shoots while he was ironing his clothes. They became friends after the shoot, and eventually John popped the question! Chrissy and John both have a very large social media following, and have captured the hearts of people everywhere. They also just welcomed their first child into the world.

Chrissy also loves to cook. She has her very own food blog, and she uses it as an outlet to express herself. She was actually featured in her own special on the cooking channel. How cool! She is also co-host of the very popular and very hilarious show: Lip Sync Battle!

Anyone who follows Chrissy on social media knows that she has a heart of gold, and is totally hilarious and charming. It is her great personality that helps her with the negativity of haters. She says that they used to get to her at first, but now she simply ignores them. I really think that she is someone that is so cool, carefree and that lots of people would love to be real life best friends with. 

 

-Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens, President

photo credit: people.com*

Another Win for PR Teen Prez

mm by mattProject RACE has an incredible team of talented and dedicated youth leaders. Makensie McDaniel,  of Belmont, NC, is one of our Project RACE Teens Co-Presidents. On January 2, 2016 she participated in a local preliminary and won the title of Miss Queen City’s Outstanding Teen. Makensie will now be competing at Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen Pageant in June. She will compete in personal interview, fitness, talent, and evening gown/onstage question. Competitors must be between the ages of 13-17 and show personal commitment, perseverance, talent, and ambition. They must also have a personal platform, and we are delighted that Makensie’s personal platform is the multiracial advocacy of Project RACE.

“As a child, I struggled a bit with racial identity,” Makensie said. “I am multiracial, as my mother is white and my father is black. I was raised primarily by the white side of my family, have attended majority white schools, and my community has been mainly white. Therefore, I self identified as white in middle school, but was constantly told by society that I was black. This struggle inspired my passion for multiracial advocacy, and my platform Project RACE.”

About competing in pageants, Makensie said, “The Miss North Carolina’s Outstanding Teen program has pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me become the leader that I am today. I would encourage any young lady between the ages of 13-17 to become a part of the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Program through your state.”

One way Makensie has promoted her platform on the state level is with our annual Multiracial Heritage Week. She worked with Governor Pat McCrory to proclaim June 7th-14th Multiracial Heritage week in North Carolina.  She hopes to make the celebration across her state even bigger this year.  This is the third annual Multiracial Heritage Week initiated by Project RACE. Nationally, Project RACE has had twelve states issue proclamations and is working hard contacting the governors of each state so that more proclamations can be issued and more multiracial people celebrated.

If you would like to help get Multiracial Heritage Week in YOUR state, we would love to have you on our team. Stay tuned to find out how you can help!

 

photo credit: Matt Boyd

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

FullSizeRenderRecently I was watching one of my favorite movies: “The Game Plan.” As I was watching for probably the hundredth time, a lightbulb went off in my head. I began to wonder if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was multiracial. After doing a little bit of research, I found that the answer to my question was yes. Dwayne Johnson is of Samoan and African-Canadian ancestry. Mr. Johnson has a long list of accomplishments, and I believe that he is a perfect fit for this week’s Famous Friday.

Dwayne Johnson is not only well known for his acting, but also for his wrestling. Ironically his career in professional wrestling began with a college football career ending injury. He joined the World Wrestling Federation. Throughout his elite wrestling career, he won 6 WWF heavyweight titles.

Today you’re most likely to see Dwayne Johnson on the big screen. He’s recently starred in major films including Hercules, Furious Seven, and San Andreas. Mr. Johnson’s list of accomplishments goes on and on. It’s easy to see how the big guy with a rather soft side has captured the heart of so many individuals.

Lexi Brock, Project RACE Teens President

FAMOUS FRIDAY: Actress Paula Maxine Patton

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Photo courtesy of IMDB.com

For this week’s Famous Friday I chose Paula Maxine Patton. Paula has African American and Caucasian ancestry. Paula’s mother was a school teacher, and her father was an attorney. She was born in Los Angeles, California on December 5, 1975. Paula attended USC film school and has since starred in several major motion pictures. She actually grew up across the street from 20th Century Fox Studios!

One of Paula’s first roles was in the movie Hitch, where she co-starred with the infamous Will Smith. She has also starred in some of my personal favorite movies, like “Jumping the Broom” and “Baggage Claim.” Besides acting, Paula has also tested the waters in music. She has even done background vocals for Usher!

Paula has admitted that she at first struggled with being biracial. However, she eventually overcame her insecurities and blossomed into the beautiful and talented actress that people across the globe know and love.  My favorite Paula Patton quote is, “The older I get, the more I accept and appreciate myself.” I think this is a phenomenal and very true statement for all of us. I believe that when famous multiracial individuals like Paula accept themselves, it makes it easier for other awesome biracial people to do the same.

-Lexi, Co-President Project RACE Teens