The fifth installment of CNN's Black in America Series focused on the question, "Who is black in America?" That single, seemingly simple question unravels the complicated, densely packed issue of racial identity in this country. To continue this important conversation, three of the interview subjects from the documentary: Fmr. Editor, Essence Magazine Michaela Angela Davis, (1)ne Drop Project" Artistic Director and a consulting producer for the documentary Yaba Blay and poet and mentor Perry "Vision" DiVirgilio join “Starting Point” this morning.
Mentor Perry DiVirgilio, also known as "Vision" says during his workshops with students he would come across a lot of “folks who you would look at as a …black man… a young black woman,” who “were checking other or not wanting to identify with race at all.”
On the question of why this topic is important Davis says, “Acting like it doesn’t exist doesn’t heal.” Davis goes on to add, “That America as a family… this is our taboo issue. This brings up so much – it triggers a lot of black girl pain, it triggers up a lot of secrets. There’s a lot of bias. It triggers emotional things…. People don’t like to look at it but this is the roads to healing.”
Blay who says she could see her younger self in a young girl in the documentary who said she didn’t “want to be dark,” talked about the affects of colorism. Blay says, “At that age you’re very aware of whose privileged, who is seen as beautiful, which little girls are on T.V. with the curls in their hair.” She adds that for many like the young girl, “the pain of being dark-skinned is such that you will take an incremental step lighter and think that that is going to improve your life.”
Davis says progress can be made in “having this conversation. This is the solution.” She adds however, “It’s not that it’s done after this,” referring to the documentary.
“I think my skin is ugly … I don’t want to be dark.”
That stunning confession comes from 7-year-old LaShawnte Brown – whose reasoning for disowning the color of her skin is “because light skinned is pretty.”
LaShawnte’s teacher, 22-year-old Kiara Lee, decided to confront the negative self identities of her students by exploring the concept of colorism using tactics taken directly from the history books.
Soledad profiles Kiara, and her shocking teaching methods, in this piece of “Who is Black in America?”
Soledad O'brien's “Who is Black in America?” premieres this Sunday at 8 PM ET/PT.
In this piece of Soledad O’Brien’s “Who is Black in America” Nayo Jones explains why she doesn't "feel black." Jones explains she feels this way in part, because of all the teasing she endured as a child from other kids who called her "white girl."
In the United States of America in 2012, what does black look like? Who defines black? And why is there an argument – or disagreement at all – about who counts as black? Can someone choose to be black? Isn't race assigned at birth, just like gender? If race is a choice for some people, why pick black? Why not? What does your choice mean for your future? What does it mean for the future of your children?
CNN's Soledad O'Brien examines these important and provocative questions in an hour-long documentary, "Who is Black in America?" She follows two 17-year-olds, Becca Khalil and Nayo Jones, on their journeys to find their racial identities. "I'm from Africa, says Becca, whose parents were born in Egypt, "but the black kids don't seem to really want me, and the white kids don't seem to really want me." She says Egyptians are dismissed as Middle Eastern or Arab, but she is neither of those things. Nayo Jones was raised by her white father, and doesn't really know her black mom. "I can say that I'm African-American, but I see being black as being more of a cultural thing," she says. "I was raised in a. white environment, and a mostly white neighborhood." She insists that makes her less black. The man guiding Becca and Nayo is Perry "Vision" DiVirgilio, a spoken word poet who calls himself a "biracial black man." He struggled with his own identity issues for years.
Getting into a high ranking prep school can be tough for even the most privileged students. For a minority student from an underprivileged background, it's considered a ticket to a first class education that can open many doors.
This “Black in America” report by CNN's Jason Carroll shines the spotlight on Trinity School, an elite private school that discovers gaining admittance is hardly the same as gaining acceptance.
He left his dream job to help others pursue their dreams.
In this “Black in America” report, CNN's George Howell has the opportunity to speak with a successful athletic footwear designer who left a lucrative career at Nike to help change the complexion of the footwear industry.
Lincoln Stephens has a goal: Adding diversity to the multi-billion dollar advertising industry. The African American community isn't well represented in the field, and one former ad executive wants to change that.
CNN's George Howell explains how in this week's edition of "Black in America."
Soledad's CNN documentary "Who is Black in America" special airs on December 9th at 8pmET.
Any given Sunday, tourists are lining up to go to church in Harlem. Black churches there are becoming big, inspirational attractions for white European visitors.
It's a growing trend, and a cultural experience that's uniquely American.
This morning on "Starting Point," Jason Carroll reports on this edition of "Black in America."
Gun violence is on the rise in several American cities. Out of the nation’s 10 largest cities, Philadelphia has the highest homicide rate. This year’s death toll is up to 277.
But Scott Charles, a local educator and a trauma surgeon, has created an innovative program to save lives of potential victims even before they arrive in the operating room. CNN Correspondent Sarah Hoye has this week’s “Black in America” report.
In October, the U.S. National Soccer Team advanced in World Cup qualifying, thanks in large part to a half-dozen German-born players fathered by African-American soldiers in the U.S. military.
The choice to play for U.S. National Soccer Team rather than the German team relates a lot to their racial identity. In the case of soccer player Danny Williams he told his parents he felt more American than German. Williams says, “When people look at me in Germany they know that I am not 100% German.”
CNN's George Howell takes an in-depth look in this "Black In America" report.
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