Kiki Layne

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Kiki Layne is from Cincinnati,Ohio. She attended DePaul University. Her next film is a screen adaptation of Richard Wright’s 1940 novel Native Son.
Her first acting role was with Lena Waithe in the pilot for the show The Chi, which was shot in 2015. Speaking to Vanity Fair, says she was always acting growing up and that her favourite movie as a child was, The Lion King. I used to watch it every day and create these extravagant stories with my Barbies and stuffed animals.”
Layne began her career attending a performing-arts school in Cincinnati, where she took the flute, then French horn and the trumpet. She later attended DePaul University in Chicago to study acting. After graduating she moved to LA where she landed her breakout role in the Barry Jenkins movie If Beale Street Could Talk.
Layne is outspoken about the injustices African American people face in the USA and the issue of representation of black people in films. Speaking to Vanity Fair, she says, “The black community faced [injustices] in the early 70s and still face them today, issues of wrongful incarceration and what the justice system looks like for black people growing up in poverty. But at the core of it is a really beautiful love story between Tish and Fonny. I don’t feel like I’ve seen this for young black actors—there’s this tenderness that I just don’t see.” She’s really making a big splash in the industry.

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Janelle Monae has lost her mind!

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Nana Mensah

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is a Ghanaian-American actress, director, writer, singer and all around renaissance woman who we first got to know as the fiery Sade on the web series An African CityOver the last thirty months, Mensah has been hard at work on her first feature film, a dark comedy called Queen of Glory, which she wrote, directed and stars in. In the film, Mensah plays Sarah Obeng, a young PhD. candidate who is also a “weirdo, adulteress, binge-eating, grieving-but-not-dealing, Ghanaian-American genius who is slaying at academia, but failing at life.” For Mensah, a self-professed weirdo, her latest role is an opportunity to tell the story of a black woman from an African immigrant community who finds herself pulled in different directions as she tries to develop and honor each aspect of her identities.

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Serena Williams: Validation through Dilution

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There has been much fanfare about the new August cover  of Vanity Fair.  It features tennis great Serena Williams.  The black woman’s body is a beautiful sight to behold.  And a pregnant woman is a glorious representation of new life.  So when I saw the pregnant Williams I first thought it was beautiful.  Then I had to remind myself that she was carrying a white man’s seed.  But Williams is not alone in doing this.  It seems many black athletes,singers,politicians and actors love to dilute their black genetics.  Here’s a short list of black and (some biracial) people who over the years have continued to whiten their bloodline…

Ira Aldridge, Maya Angelou, Kofi Annan, Pearl Bailey, Amiri Baraka, Charles Barkley, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, Ed Bradley, Carol Mosely Braun, Lonnie Bristow, Avery Brooks, Georg Sanford Brown, Clarence Williams III, Johnetta Cole, Ward Connerly, Sammy Davis Jr., Father Divine, Frederick Douglass, Marian Wright Edelman, Olaudah Equiano (aka Gustavus Vasa), Franz Fanon, Roberta Flack, Henry Louis Gates, Clarence Gilyard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Berry Gordy, Dorien Harewood, Ken Hamblin, Calvin Hernton, Chester Himes, Gregory Hines, Michael Jackson, LaToya Jackson, Reggie Jackson, C.L.R. James, Rick James, Jack Johnson, James Earl Jones, Quincy Jones, Vernon Jordan, Monica Kaufman, Eartha Kitt, Earl Klugh, Ramsey Lewis, Wynton Marsalis, Ali Mazrui, James McDaniel, Bobby McFerrin, Barbara McNair, Edwin Moses, George Padmore, Clarence Page, Floyd Patterson, Scottie Pippen, Sidney Portier, Richard Pryor, Seal, Lou Rawls, Alphonso Ribiera, Dennis Rodman, J.A. Rogers, Roxie Roker, Diana Ross, Richard Roundtree, Leopold S. Senghor, O.J. Simpson, Mike Singletary, Kanye West, Michael Jordan,Taye Diggs, Kobe Bryant, Iman, Alfre Woodard, Garcelle Beauvais,Marcus Allen,Zoe Saldana,Derek Luke, David Oyelowo,Omar Hardwick,Kristoff St. John, Shelby Steele, Clarence Thomas, Melvin Van Peeples, Ben Vereen, Alice Walker, Hershel Walker, Walter White, Charles V. Willie, Montel Williams, Fred Williamson, Richard Wright, and William Julius Wilson.

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Why are we so desperate for white acceptance? Do we not value our African phenotype?  Why do we want to dilute our black genetics?  We are a beautiful people.  We are beautiful with our full lips,dark skin and African textured hair.  We don’t have to be mixed to be considered attractive.  We are taught to hate our own reflection. Over hundreds of years of imperial indoctrination,slavery and colonization we have lost knowledge of self.  They gave us  European mythology full of false white gods and black demons. This is evident by the fact that our most intelligent,successful and athletic even want to reproduce with their oppressor.   Many of these athletes and entertainers don’t see the beauty in themselves.  They can only see beauty in their biracial offspring.  Something that looks less black.  Something less hue-man. They feel by accepting the white penis or  white vagina will exclude them from black pain.  They think by kissing white lips they wont be spat upon by white racism.  But this is delusional. This shows how deep rooted the self hatred can be. Africans are the oldest people on the planet.  The black man is the Original man.  The black woman is the Original woman and the standard of beauty.  All these other races are subspecies. European culture is anti-African by it’s very definition.  But the reality is we don’t need their acceptance or consent for anything.  All we have to do is accept and love ourselves. And once we do that we’ll be taking the first steps in reclaiming power and control over our own destinies.

Lisa Bonet & Biracial Women-Black Genetics(Part 4 of 4)

ca. 1988 --- Lisa Bonet --- Image by © Lance Staedler/CORBIS OUTLINE

The first time I saw actress Lisa Bonet was on The Cosby Show.  The main stars on the show were Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad.  The other daughters were played by actresses Tempestt Bledsoe,Keisha  Knight Pulliam and Sabrina Le Beauf. But Lisa was clearly the most popular daughter. Lisa  played Denise  Huxtable.The show came on back in 1984.  I remember a lot of black boys in my neighborhood had a crush on her.  I wont lie,I thought she was pretty too.  I remember a classmate telling me that she was biracial and had a Jewish mother.  I did think it was a bit strange that she looked biracial but had two black parents.   I remember on the Cosby Show there were all different shades of black people.  I also remember she did a spinoff show called A Different World.

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I remember that the character Dwayne Wayne,played by Kadeem Hardison had a huge crush on Denise Huxtable.  Eventually Lisa Bonet left the show to start a film career.  After she left Dwayne fell in love with Whitley Gilbert played by Jasmine Guy(pictured above).  The thing I noticed about these women is they are both biracial.  Why is the mixed woman the object of affection so often? I didn’t think about it much as a child.  But I started to think about it more as I got older. This is something that has been going on for quite some time.  I’ve covered this subject before and it needs repeating.  It’s not really about just Lisa Bonet. She’s just one of the first examples I remember where the mixed woman gets all the attention.  I’ve seen this pattern over thirty years.  And it’s steadily increasing.  But it’s mostly about the fact that Hollywood still uses biracial women has the standard for beautiful black women.  And also we as black people have a problem liking any group of people that look “less black”. This is a learned behavior. I’ve seen it in film,music and television. It’s really nothing new. I’ve seen it throughout my whole childhood.   You may find some of these women attractive.  But the issue is not their attractiveness. The issue is the over abundance of mixed women being in the forefront representing black beauty. There’s so many I could never list them all.  But here’s just a small sample of  some of the more popular ones.  And even some biracial women you may not be that familiar with.

sade

Long before Mariah Carey or Alicia Keys….Sade was the biracial songbird that took the music world by storm.  She was  a huge star in the 80’s.  I admit I like her music.  She really has a lovely voice.  I remember guys in my neighborhood would always say she was so beautiful. Her being biracial probably didn’t hurt too much either. They said she was wife material.  It’s funny because rarely did I hear them say that about Anita Baker,Patti LaBelle or Jody Watley very much.

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In the 80’s biracial actress Rae Dawn Chong was the “black” actress in many Hollywood films.  Although she was mostly paired with white men.

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Actress Jennifer Beals became a huge star when starred in the film Flashdance(1983).  She played an exotic dancer in the film.  Her mother is white and father is a black man.

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In the action film Action Jackson(1988) the late pop singer Vanity played the love interest to Carl Weathers.  The biracial singer whose real name was Denise Matthews also dated pop/rock  icon Prince.

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On the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air(1990-1996)  biracial actress Karyn Parsons played Hilary Banks.  She played the cousin of Will Smith.

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In the interracial drama Jungle Fever(1991) biracial actress Lonette McKee played the wife of Wesley Snipes.  He cheated on his biracial wife for an Italian woman.  I guess his wife wasn’t white enough for him.

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In the film Mo Money(1992)  Damon Wayans starred with biracial actress Stacey Dash.

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In Boomerang(1992) Eddie Murphy was paired with biracial actress Halle Berry.  Robin Givens was also in the film but Halle was the women every guy wanted. Of course Halle was the go-to mulatto throughout the nineties. And even won an Oscar award in the process.  She became the “pretty black woman” in Hollywood.

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Sade ruled the 80’s but in the 90’s Mariah Carey became the mulatto singer the media feel in love with.  I remember on music channels they would say she was a beautiful black woman. Mariah used to always insist that she was biracial though. Lately she has been getting more in touch with her black side.  Maybe it was because she married black actor/rapper Nick Cannon.  They have since divorced after having two children.

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The sitcom Sister Sister(1994-1999) was a big hit among teenage girls.  It starred biracial sisters Tia and Tamera Mowry.

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R&B pop singer/dancer Mya was biracial as well.  She first came on the scene back in 1998. She did a little acting in a few films.  Some thought she would be the next Janet Jackson.  I haven’t heard much from her lately.  Not sure what she’s been up to.

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In the 90’s biracial actress Kristen Wilson was paired with black actors like Eddie Murphy and Damon Wayans.

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Biracial actress Gloria Reuben was on the hit drama ER(1994-2009)  Her character always had troubling finding love.

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I also remember actress Michael Michele(above) was  on the drama ER the same time as Gloria Reuben.  She was a nice addition since there wasn’t much “color” on that show.  Of course she’s biracial as well.

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What’s the Worst That could Happen(2001) Starred Martin Lawrence and biracial actress Carmen Ejogo.  She usually plays a black woman or a racially ambiguous role.

This is a great video(above) by Youtuber Chrissie.  She perfectly explains the double standard when it comes to biracial beauty.  There’s  a lot of dishonesty when people talk about colorism and the advantage of being biracial.

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Biracial actress Kandyse McClure is from South Africa.  She has starred in films like Children of the Corn and Broken Kingdom.  She’s most known for the sci-fi television show Battlestar Galactica(2004-2009).

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R&B singer Amerie debuted in 2002. There was a lot of buzz about her in the beginning.  Her “exotic looks” come from her black father and Korean mother.  Her only hit single was “One Thing”.  Some thought she would dethrone Beyoncé as the next big thing.  Didn’t quite happen though.

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R&B/pop singer Cassie Ventura(knows as Cassie) on the scene in 2006.  Her father is Filipino and mother is  black/Mexican.  She has done some acting as well.  She obviously wants to be a bigger star. Although she is most known for dating music producer Puff Daddy. She has been his on/off again side piece for the last few years.

In the black drama ATL(2006) biracial actress Lauren London was the love interest to rapper/actor T.I. This film was supposed to make London the role model for all the  biracial ghetto hood chicks.  I guess she’s living up to it.  She already has two children by two gangster rappers.  One with Lil Wayne and Nipsey Hussle.

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In the film Idlewild(2006) biracial actress Paula Patton played the love interest to rapper/actor Andre Benjamin.  Over the years she has starred alongside Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise. At one point she was dubbed the “next Halle Berry”.

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In the comedy film Norbit(2007) biracial actress Thandie Newton was paired with Eddie Murphy.  Norbit was a horrible film.  A total waste of film!

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I remember when pop singer Leona Lewis dropped her debut cd Spirit in 2007. The British born singer has a black father and white mother.  She made a big splash in her debut.  She has the light skin,light eyes and long hair….and could actually sing. It’s no wonder music critics called her the “new Mariah”.

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In the comedy action film Rush Hour 3(2007) mixed-raced actress Noemie Lenoir was the love interest for Chris Tucker.

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Singer Jordin Sparks won the show American Idol back in 2007.  The biracial singer was seventeen at the time.  I think that show is rigged anyway…I’m just saying.  She has become quite a big star over the last several years.

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Biracial actress Tracee Ellis Ross stars on the silly sitcom show Black-ish(2014-).  She plays the wife of Anthony Anderson.  Her mother is music icon Diana Ross.  Her father is a Jewish businessman.

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On the Fox show Gotham(2014-)  biracial actress Jessica Lucas plays Tabitha Galavan. She is not only a vicious villain buy also plays a lesbian.  You know Hollywood always has to throw in that sexual confusion.

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There are even more biracial women in news media as well.  This picture(above) is ESPN sports reporter Sage Steele with her white husband.  Steele is most known for being a white racist apologist. She never misses an opportunity to insult black people and the black struggle. Does that make her a mulatto coon?

Soledad OBrien....

This is biracial news anchor Soledad O’Brien.  She’s a news anchor on CNN. Just like Sage Steele she also married a white man. Look at those children. You can see the African features are just about gone!  Kiss those black genes goodbye!  But I guess that’s purpose of marrying white anyway.

Melissa Harris Perry...

This picture(above) is of biracial news anchor Melissa Harris-Perry.  She is pictured with her mother and father.  She is an author and political commentator. She had her own show for four years(2012-2016) on MSNBC. Unlike Sage Steele and Soledad O’Brien she decided to marry a black man.

Kylie Bunbury...

On the Fox show Pitch(2016-) biracial actress Kylie Bunbury plays Ginny Baker.  It’s a show about the first woman to play major league baseball.  So…they couldn’t find a woman that was just black??  Nope!  They have to cast the biracial woman as the center of attention.

Kara Royster....

This picture was very interesting to me.  I found it very eye opening.  This is part of the cast of the Disney show K.C. Undercover(2015-present). From left to right the actresses are Zendaya Coleman,Jasmine Guy,Kara Royster and Tammy Townsend. The first three women all have white mothers.  Townsend has a white father and a black mother.  That’s right..all of these women are biracial. How is that possible that ALL of them are biracial? They casted all biracial women.  Could this be an accident? I’ll let you decide.

BTS Miss Mulatto "No More Talking" photos by Thaddaeus McAdams for SoSoDef

This young lady is rapper Miss Mulatto.  That’s not a misprint,you read it right.  Her actual rape name is Miss Mulatto.  Her real name is Alyssa Stephens.  The 18- year old rapper is most known for being on the reality show The Rap Game.  I just find it interesting that she is capitalizing off of the popularity of being racially ambiguous. And using that as a way of being seen as unique in the rap world.

Tinashe...

Then we have pop singer Tinashe. She is biracial as well with a black father and white mother. She’s an okay dancer but not the best singer.  But you don’t have to be able to sing in the music industry anymore.  You just have to have the right “look”.  Maybe Tinashe will be the next Zendaya. Or the next Jordin Sparks? On the next Mya?  Who knows! I ‘m starting to get them all mixed up.

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Biracial actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson is getting a lot of roles lately.  She has appeared in films like Colombiana and The Accountant.  And shows like Texas Rising,Arrow and Shooter.

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Actress Jamie Lee Kirchner(pictured above) was born in Germany.  She has a black mother and white father. She has been in shows like  CSI,Dollhouse and Bull.  Although she has brown skin she is still biracial.  Some people get fooled by this. Not all biracial women have really light skin and light colored eyes.  Some of a bit more melanin but they don’t always have African-textured hair.  Many of them have lanky hair with a bit of a curl to it. This is just a small sample of biracial actresses and singers.  I could’ve listed a lot more.

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But the main point is that many of these white Hollywood casting agents don’t think that deep brown skinned and dark chocolate-colored(not biracial) women are good enough. They don’t have the “exotic look” they’re looking for. They don’t want African(Original)looking women with black features representing the black race.  And they purposely promote biracial women in films and music as the standard.  Otherwise why do they keep doing this?  People say “well black people  come in many different shades”.  Okay then why do the biracial women get so much of the attention.  We all know why. The truth is white people(other races and some blacks) believe that  mixed race women are more  attractive than black women.  They don’t think that black women that are 85% black or more should be the standard.  But this colorism madness needs to STOP!  There are plenty of darker skinned actresses and singers that don’t get the shine they deserve.  I want all my sisters to get the limelight.  She can have  full lips,thick thighs,african textured hair and dark skin.  This is not about bashing biracial woman. Like I have said before,I have biracial people in my family.  I have cousins that have married whites and Mexicans(Hispanic whites). I But I don’t consider them black..they are mixed.  This one-drop rule has gotten out of control. I don’t have any hatred towards them. I have nothing against them. But it’s time to stop putting black beauty on the back burner. Black/African women have their own unique beauty that should be celebrated. I just don’t think it’s “fair” to give them most of the shine while black women are an afterthought. Lisa Bonet is a pretty woman.  But a black woman shouldn’t have to look like Lisa to get some credit for her beauty.

The Hidden Message of Hidden Figures

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It seems most fitting to begin this piece by stating that mathematician Katherine Johnson is a genius. Thus, a movie celebrating black brilliance sounds progressive, however the actual portrayal renders Johnson a “hidden figure” in a supposed commemoration of her legacy.

The film briefly shows audiences a young Katherine, whose academic ability foments opportunity despite the obvious oppression of the early 20th century. The film attempts to inspire audiences though depicting Johnson’s contribution to launching the first American body into space. However, in actuality Hidden Figures illustrates that black brilliance yields white advancement.

Audiences watch Johnson put in long hours, travel forty minutes to use the bathroom and endure a segregated coffee machine. Subversively, the film suggests that the only place for  a black intellect is in a white world. This conflict is not exclusive to this film, but extended to all encompassed by the phrase “the first black (fill in the blank)” While this phrasing appears complimentary, it shifts the focus away from the individual of African descent to the white vessel who “accepts” them.

In Hidden Figures, this white vessel is Al Harrison, played by Kevin Costner. Perhaps one of the most noteworthy scenes is Costner breaking down the segregated restroom signs. The scene received zealous plaudits from a stadium sized theatre. This applause undoubtedly erupted due to the mostly white audience’s attempt to overtly align themselves with Harrison’s seemingly integrative initiative. For me, this scene provoked an adverse reaction.

Watching this scene brought me back to a Dr. Carr lecture I attended almost a decade ago. During this lecture, Dr. Carr said that “nothing has been done for blacks that did not benefit others.” Namely, these segregated signs existed at NASA although there were no no black individuals worked in this particular wing. Thus, the signs served no direct purpose but to remind those who cleaned the facilities that they were good enough to scrub toilets but not sit on them. Thus, Harrison’s acts are not commendable—they’re selfish. This very deed exposes the fault in integration. The segregated bathroom only becomes an issue when it deterred white initiative. Namely, only when segregation proved an obstacle to his advancement and reputation was it taken down. It is this selfishness, not ideas of equality or unity, that continues to fuel black inclusion in traditionally white spaces.

Before concluding this article, I would like to state that my criticism is not to take away from Mrs. Katherine Johnson’s legacy. This article does function to state that this film is not an accurate depiction of this legacy. I would love to have learned more about her life pre-Nasa, the parents who raised her, her experience at school, how she balanced motherhood and work, and the strength it took to raise three young kids as a young widow. Hidden Figures abbreviates Mrs. Johnson’s life, making her a largely enigmatic figure in a film that is seemingly about her. Johnson’s hidden figure status in her own film suggests that all black excellence yields hidden figure status in a white supremacist society. In veiling sentiments of deprived visibility, the film highlights how imperative it is that we as black tell “our story” and not his-story. For the moral of the story is not Johnson’s greatness, but what history continually tells in in films like 42, The Blind Side and The Help, which is simply that blacks can do anything if whites think they are special.

Article by C.C. Saunders