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"(1)ne Drop: Conversations on Skin Color, Race, and Identity" Kickstarter Campaign

by Vanessa Martinez
October 27, 2011 1:04 AM
15 Comments
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Although adopted and enforced by white supremacists at the beginning of the 20th century in Tennessee, the 'one drop of black blood rule' seems to prevail in today's society. In many instances, the old-fashioned rule is the determining factor IMO (is it?) in racially identifying who is black and who isn't, especially in the United States.

Yaba Blay, Ph.D., an Africana studies scholar, and Noelle Théard, a photographer, are research collaborators on this issue and more, in the photo essay/documentary (1)ne Drop: Conversations on Skin Color, Race, and Identity. The project, an exploration of "the 'other' faces of Blackness – those who may not immediately be recognized, accepted, or embraced as Black in this visually racialized society", has 16 days to go in its fundraising campaign through Kickstarter.

From the Kickstarter campaign page:

(1)ne Drop documents the thoughts, feelings, opinions, perspectives, and experiences of a variety of people of African descent from around the world. Their shared experience? Seeing themselves as Black and identifying as Black, yet having their Blackness questioned for any variety of reasons. "What are you?" is a question that many of them have been asked repeatedly. Africana Studies scholar Yaba Blay and photographer Noelle Théard have traveled extensively to photograph and interview 40 individuals representing 20 countries about their own racial identity, their connection to Blackness, and their experiences with skin color politics. Through candid personal narratives and beautifully captured photographs, (1)ne Drop provides living testimony to the fluidity of Blackness and provokes new thinking and new conversations on race, skin color, and identity.

(1)ne Drop = (1)ne Love

Through this project, we intend to raise social awareness and spark community dialogue about the complexities of Blackness as both an identity and a lived reality. We seek to challenge popular notions of what Black is and what Black looks like –- if we can recalibrate our lenses to see Blackness as a broader category of identity and experience, perhaps we will be able to see ourselves as part of a larger global community.

In the end, (1)ne Drop hopes to awaken a long-overdue and much needed dialogue about racial identity and skin color politics.

This is an interesting study, an issue that I ponder upon often. For those who do not exhibit obvious African features (skin tone, hair etc); is embracing blackness and/or African ancestry, or better yet, just identifying themselves as black, enough to be considered/embraced as black? Is it a state of mind?

I think this subject often veers into the who's black enough and who isn't territory. Interesting nonetheless.

Watch the campaign trailer below:

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15 Comments

  • True N' Living God | November 26, 2011 4:21 PMReply

    @ Rudeboi If you think Blackness is predicated solely upon the level of ones epidermal melanin (skin complexion) then you are confused. Blackness goes way beyond ones mere skin color, and using color (instead of culture) as an indicator to determine ones "Blackness" ultimately becomes a barrier to rational thought. Clearly you've been hurt, and still carry the pain of your past. No matter the complexion, we Black people have ALL been victimized and damaged in some way by this system. I would urge you not to let the situations of your past dictate the outlook of your present and future. No matter the complexion we are Brothers and Sisters tied by culture not by color! Peace.

    Read:

    Moving Beyond Race-Ism
    by Keidi Obi Awadu

    ...and...

    The Meaning of Blackness
    by I.M. Nur

  • rudeboi | October 28, 2011 10:53 AMReply

    are any of those people up there even Black? -as my eyes roll back in my head-

    It's people like those that tortured my Black ass growing up and now they are the ones with the problem. Fuck them and their bullshit.

  • Over It | October 27, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    @JMac

    I'm not sure if you were replying to my comment, but that's what I was saying. This project is looking at color from one side of the spectrum. That's the reason why I'm not interested in it. Nor am I interested in Bill Duke's doc, which seems to suggest that darker skinned black (American) women are essentially the biggest rejects on the planet and have all been made to feel that way at one point or another.

    And I agree, we need something larger and more comprehensive that doesn't just focus on a black American perspective of color. That I would gladly support.

  • JMac | October 27, 2011 5:31 AMReply

    But this doc isn't inclusive of all colors. It's still separating them and I've seen more movies/docs about the light side than the dark which is probably why so many people initially embraced "Dark Girls."

    Taking it around the world with each person is a better way than Dukes' (although I think his focus was more for black Americans than any other black group) but I'd be more interested in seeing something like this in the manner of Skip Gates (examining history and culture first then going into racial classifications of all "black" people then interviewing some on their life experiences). This needs to be a bigger project with an entire series of docs focusing on several peoples, colors, and locations.

  • Over It | October 27, 2011 5:14 AMReply

    @cynic

    Does that sentiment hold for "Dark Girl's" as well? Because it's essentially the same thing on the other end of the spectrum.

    Both seem to hinge on their creator's deep-rooted belief that lighter skin equates to privilege while darker equates to everything antithetical to that. Although, the former seems to reach a more positive conclusion. Hmm, wonder why.

    Bottom line: if it's not an objective and inclusive discussion on the experiences of self-identified black people of all colors/backgrounds, then I'm not interested. Black people and our experiences are diverse. So let's embrace that in a cohesive way. Enough with the color separatism.

  • Truth | October 27, 2011 4:51 AMReply

    The girl in front of yellow is a very cruel person. Looking for anyway to fame...:(

  • Cynic | October 27, 2011 4:04 AMReply

    I guess people of color doesn't include black people of darker complexion...

    Smdh.

    Not interested.

  • Kia | October 27, 2011 3:42 AMReply

    There's pros/cons here... If the topic is brushed under the rug, then we'll go on as if it isn't a major emotional roadblock--leaving deep scars for many, however keep harping on it may be counter productive. My immediate feeling... this is "our" Berlin Wall--must come down, but is it too high a wall? I don't think I'll live to see skin color NOT be an issue--it's too institutionalized. All we can do is try our best not to conform.

  • DONISE STEVENS | October 27, 2011 3:22 AMReply

    The animosity I feel from some posts is the reason we need to keep talking about the resultant scars left imprinted on us generations after the fact. There is room and reason for all to be heard.

  • JMac | October 27, 2011 2:49 AMReply

    And Bill Dukes already has Light Girls then Light Guys coming out whenever. Overkill.

  • tammi | October 27, 2011 2:49 AMReply

    yeah i thought the same thing until i checked out the website. looks like a whole range of people with different stories. check out the woman with vitaligo. definitely seems much more interesting based on the website

  • misha | October 27, 2011 2:10 AMReply

    LOL Really? Another "tragic mulatto" tale? What can this one tell us that the first 9684748393873 didn't? Sorry but I'll pass!

  • Cynthia | October 27, 2011 1:46 AMReply

    Definitely seems to be a very worthy project.

  • Logic | October 27, 2011 1:36 AMReply

    So, this is basically about pale black folks? Did "the Spook Who Sat by the Door" teach us nothing? Black people come in many different colors, yet we basically all deal with the same crap. The end.

  • tif | October 27, 2011 1:18 AMReply

    Now I truly do understand why these stories need to be heard.

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