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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY


MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY

 

Swetha Maddula Batambuze, age 36

  • Indian-born raised in the U.K.

Jonah Batambuze, age 37

  • First-generation Ugandan, U.S. born

Iyla Joy (daughter), age 2yrs 11-months

  • Mixed Ugandan/Indian born in U.K.

Ajani Jagan (son), 8-months old

  • Mixed Ugandan/Indian born in U.K.
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

We live one hour north east of London in a town called Peterborough.

 

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

My husband Jonah was studying abroad for a semester at University College Dublin, and I was visiting a childhood friend who happened to be living in the same dormitory.

 

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Yes. I’m a first-generation Hindu from a semi-traditional family, and my husband is first-generation Ugandan from a Christian background.  Not only did we come from different religious, and ethnic backgrounds, but I come from a family of doctors, and my husband wasn't set on a similar career path.  Since my parents didn’t have any experiences of socialising with Africans or Ugandans they felt uneasy about our relationship.  What I’ve learned is it’s easy to form generalisations when you’re not familiar with different cultures.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME? ARE THEY CONNECTED TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL CULTURES?

We celebrate common Hindu South-Indian festivals, and we also have the kids participate in Christmas and other Christian festivals from my husband’s side.  With my husband being from the United States we also participate in festivals/holidays that are celebrated in the U.S. that aren’t as big in the United Kingdom (Halloween, Thanksgiving.)

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE?

I really enjoy the rhythm of Ugandan music along with their dance.  We’ll oftentimes play the music aloud in our house and dance with the children and have a good time.  Music and dance can reveal so much about cultures once you investigate the deeper meaning.

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

Yes. The city we live within has people of various colours and religious denominations. And, is much more diverse than the communities that I or my husband grew up in.

 

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?

I speak Telugu, which is a South Indian dialect, (fluently) and I also speak English. My husband speaks English, but is not fluent in his mother tongue which is Luganda. We both want our children to speak multiple languages, and have textbooks to teach our children the basics. We both feel that our children knowing our traditions and cultures is important.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIETHNIC RELATIONSHIP?

Both sides of our extended families are extremely supportive of our relationship, and have been since our wedding.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

As well as the music, and dance listed above I love the textiles and fashion from Ugandan culture. I love the use of bold colors and how the fabric is a true reflection of the culture. It feels as if there are 1,000 stories locked into each distinct piece of fabric.

 

DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?

Growing up Asian my upbringing was heavily focused on my education and academics. Extracurricular activities like music, and anything which could build up my CV for medical school applications was the first priority. I noticed my husband was given much more freedom to explore other interests and extracurricular activities when he was growing up.

 

WHAT IS THE MOST SURPRISING/UNEXPECTED THING YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT EACH OTHER'S CULTURE?  

The most surprising thing we learned about each other, is how similar both of our cultures are. Both cultures share similar ceremonies, with a heavy focus on respect for family.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

There’s a complex within Indian/Asian culture regarding skin complexion, with lighter skin being seen as pretty. When our daughter was younger, I oftentimes heard relatives commenting on her skin tone which got under my/our skin.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILD/CHILDREN ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

We have made sure to take our children to both of our respective homelands (Uganda, India) to meet our respective families and experience our countries. We have also exposed them to our different religions by visiting places of worship (temples, church) and participating in festivals specific to our cultures

 

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON SPEAKING TO YOUR YOUNG CHILDREN ABOUT RACE IN THE FUTURE?

We’ve done a fair bit of traveling so far and our younger daughter is already becoming conscious of other countries, and geography. Our approach would be looking at a world map, and using flashcards to teach our children about the diverse religions and cultures.  

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DO YOUR CHILDREN HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

I am quite outgoing, outspoken, and loud, while my husband is much more reserved.  Our daughter has both of our characteristics and can be found running around yelling one-minute, and bashful the next.  Being South Indian I naturally have thick, black, wavy hair.  My husband has kinky afro-hair which makes for a perfect mix of our genes.

 

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN TO BE PROUD OF BEING MIXED?  

By continuing to show both of our children the positives of both our cultures.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

That our daughter is confident and successful in what she does, and always remains respectful of others differences. My dream for America is that there is less prejudice and that different races join together vs. fighting.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

In 2014, our daughter Iyla was born, and we struggled finding vibrant products with stories which reflected our cultures. In the absence of finding these products, we created our own and KampInd was born.  The name KampInd reflects the merging of our Ugandan and Indian heritages.  Teaching our children about our cultures comes natural, and we want to share these stories with the world.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE BATAMBUZE FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

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XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Xavia's experience...

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

I get a little nervous writing reviews. The way my opinion is set up, it's really hard for me to fluff and fudge, and I worry about the day when I have to review something I hated. Not today, though. Phew!

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Mixed Chicks was my first. With curly hair care that is. Years ago, I was a faithful customer. With each baby, though, I lost a portion of the energy I put into my hair until, eventually, it was all messy bun, all the time. What can I say, the kids killed my curls! Since I'm all about making a mess beautiful, though, I thought it was time to direct some of that attention to my mane. I was given the opportunity to review by the Mixed Chicks crew, and I was more than happy to revisit my first love.

With the intent to help my girls embrace their locks, I’ve made the decision not to straighten my hair anymore. At least until they're old enough, and their self-image is a little less pliable. You'd think I have a stockpile of good curly girl product, but very often I don't; hence the messy bun. Thanks to Mixed Chicks, though, I now had the goodies I needed to give my curls some life.

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

The wash and wear process required as much energy as I remember, but there was a ginormous difference. My girls lasted longer than I expected. I attempted to cheat the system, and just run a bit of the leave in conditioner through, but my results were just "meh". I still got compliments, but once I took the time to section my hair and really work it in, I was impressed with the result. All these years I've associated Mixed Chicks with amazing definition and curls, but with a lot less softness than I prefer. I appreciated the hold when I needed my hair to turn heads, but it wasn't practical for my every day. I'm a mama of small kids, I need practical.

Once I stopped cutting corners my hair lasted an impressive 3 days, with very little effort on my part; aside from day 1 of course. To be fair, I have a whole lot of super thick hair. I'm not sure the work I had to put in is typical. Now back to the softness, let's get back to that. My hair was like clouded pillows . I remember the leave in being a little tacky which left my curls with a slight crunch. Well, either they have done their homework and stepped their game up, or my mind is playing tricks, because I had crazy definition without sacrificing the touchable factor. It itches the left side of my right cornea when someone touches my hair uninvited, but if I do give you the go, you're gonna want to linger.

Back in the day all I knew was the shampoo, conditioner combo. If there were other products I certainly wasn't aware. This time around I had their Deep Conditioner, Smoothing Serum, and Morning After Redefining Foam to play with. I felt like the deep conditioner, and serum had something to do with the luxurious outcome, but I felt a little clumsy with the foam. It wasn't difficult to use, I just was a little less than sure of how. I intended to use it day 2 to revive, but I didn't need to! I kinda liked day 2 even more.  Perfect ringlets are great, but I'm a fan of the "I woke up like this" approach to hair care. My curls had fallen just enough to make it look like I didn't try, my hair was just awesome on it's own. That was a huge score for me. Day 3 I really didn't need it either, but I was getting impatient so I went ahead anyway. It was easy to use, and brought the plum back, but I'm not sure if I used the right amount. Again, I did the work a little through with my fingers, and I have the feeling my volume and length probably needed a little more than that.

I finger combed the deep conditioner through, but followed it with the Mixed Chicks brush, which felt amazing on my scalp and gave it some much needed attention. I'm not sure why or how, but chunks of my hair were not left behind in the bristles. That was new to me, but not nearly as important as how my scalp felt, Most every other shampoo leaves it super irritated, but Mixed Chicks was scalp friendly. Huge bonus for me. If I have one gripe with co-wash, other than liking a lather clean from time to time, it's that they really irritate my scalp, as do most shampoos. Co-washes though, tend to leave it extra cakey, and even if my hair looks great my scalp is never happy. I didn't even have any scalp expectations of Mixed Chicks, but it felt and looked super healthy afterwards. That either means there's a uniquely awesome ingredient that agrees with me, or that there's the lack of an ingredient that all other shampoos have that perhaps I'm allergic to. It's a win either way. I'm not a chemist so don't ask me to explain the science, all I know is I didn't want to instantly destroy my hair with a scratch attack.

Last but not least let's sniff this stuff, because it smells sooooo good! Honestly, most of us would use even the worst product at least sometimes if it smelled amazing. Makes no sense, but then again, beauty isn't always synonymous with logic. Luckily with this brand you don't have to smell good in vein, because the products work just as wells as they smell. The styling products smell good too, but the shampoo and conditioner have a very distinct scent, that's kinda fruity, kinda floral, and leaves me smelling the bottle, just cuz.

Most curly girls know, it can be difficult to maintain a monogamous relationship with any one line. The mood of our curls swing just as much as we do with styling them. Most lines have one stand out strength and serves a specific purpose in our arsenal. For me, Mixed Chicks used to serve as my definition/smell good go to. The fact that there's also a softness now, has me considering settling down.

XAVIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

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THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Theresa's experience...

THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Name: Theresa, age 9 (daughter of Swirl Nation contributing blogger Chris Kelly)

Social Media: TW 

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Shampoo

 

Initial reaction? Was concerned when reading ingredients because it contains sulfates.

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? My daughter is 9 years old, mixed race, Caucasian and black with a head of curls. I have tried every product on her hair and have been unsuccessful in finding anything that truly works. I tried Mixed Chicks when she was about 3, the children’s line and didn’t really like it.

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? Culture specific is not why I would buy or use a product, the efficacy of the product is what is important. Having tried many culture specific products, I do find there is a positive difference in products that are specifically designed for ethnically mixed hair.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? The generosity of the products we received including the brush have really covered all of our needs. I would probably like to try the sulfate free shampoo I saw in their brochure included with products I received.

THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
THERESA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog



 

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KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Kaia's experience...

KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Name: Kaia (daughter of Swirl Nation founder Jen), age 12

Social Media: IG / TW 

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? The Mixed Chicks Kids Shampoo and Conditioner.

Initial reaction? The shampoo was nice and gentle. My daughter has volleyball or conditioning pretty much every day of the week and gets super sweaty so she has to wash her hair every night, which can really dry out your hair. But the combination of the Mixed Chicks Shampoo, Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner keep it moisturized and looking great! Every night she goes to bed with wet hair and it air dries as she sleeps and in the morning we spray it with the Tangle Tamer Spray to define the curls and just scrunch it up a little.

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out? I had always been curious about the products, so I was excited when we had the opportunity to try them through the Hair Stories series!

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? I think it is great to know that a product is made with mixed hair in mind. Obviously not all mixed girls’ (or guys’) hair is the same, my daughter’s hair for example is pretty fine and has looser curls. Overall her hair is low-maintenance and easy to handle, it just needs the right mix of cleansing and conditioning which I think Mixed Chicks provides.

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? The Replenishing Oil would be great to try, I usually use Moroccan Oil or Coconut Oil Spray on her hair in the mornings so it would be great to see how that compares.

KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
KAIA'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

 

 

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CHANEL'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW


You Never Forget Your First Time…

Swirl Nation bloggers had the opportunity to sample the Mixed Chicks Hair product line and give us feedback on how the products worked in their hair. Mixed Chicks Hair products were created by Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy whose collaboration of love developed products for multiracial men, women and children who had curly/textured hair types.


Who better than to try Mixed Chicks Hair products than your favorite Swirl Nation ladies? Here is Chanel's experience...

CHANEL'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

Name: Chanel Bosh

Social Media: IG / TW

CHANEL'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

What was the first Mixed Chicks products you tried? Slick Styling Tamer

Initial reaction: OH MY GOD! This is magic! Nothing works to slick my hair. NOTHING! I have never been able to really achieve a "slick" look. For whatever reason, edge control pastes never really work on my hair texture. But as soon as I tried Mixed Chicks Slick Styling Tamer, I was very pleasantly surprised. I rubbed some of the product between my palms, then smoothed it onto my hair. Before I even used my brush, I noticed that my hair was already relatively slick. 

 

Why did you decide to try Mixed Chicks products out?  I decided to try Mixed Chicks out because of a referral to be a product tester. I had always been on the fence about trying this product line, because I did not think that the products would work for my type of hair, which is a bit kinkier than what people usually think of as "mixed chicks" hair. I thought, my hair might be too coarse and kinky. But when I saw that Mixed Chicks has expanded their product link to include the Slick Styling Tamer and Coil, Kink, and Curl Styling Cream, I decided to give it a try. 

 

Does using a culture specific beauty product impact your beauty regime? Yes! Culture specific beauty products make me feel good about myself and my hair type. Also, because culture specific products are more tailored to my hair type, it is easier for me to style my hair, while using fewer products. 

 

Are there other Mixed Chicks products you are interested in trying out? I am interested in trying the Detangling Deep Conditioner and the Sulfate Free Shampoo

CHANEL'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog
CHANEL'S MIXED CHICKS HAIR PRODUCT REVIEW via Swirl Nation Blog

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL


BRITTANI NOEL, AS AN ACTRESS, I’D RATHER NOT MENTION AGE ;-))

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

Hungarian & African-American

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Los Angeles

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

Yes

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I was born & raised in LA, which is generally a diverse community. However, there were not many other mixed kids that I was aware of growing up…

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

My Mom met my Dad when she was here on a trip from Budapest, Hungary, visiting my Aunt who had immigrated here. She met him at a convention and says it was love at first sight. They didn’t speak any of the same language, but ended up getting married anyway!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

The language barrier for one. Mixed race couples were still not too commonplace, so I’m told my Dad lost a number of friends who didn’t approve of the relationship at the time. There were also some challenges in the family as well, but for the most part I wasn’t exposed to that directly.

 

HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?

My current extended family has been, yes.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

My parents were divorced when I was about 7, so my memories are mostly of celebrating Hungarian traditions, which was connected to my Mom’s culture. We embraced a lot of her traditions even when my parents were together; my Dad was flexible/open to it and my Mom’s family was very involved in our lives.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Yes, Hungarian and English. I speak both fluently, much to people’s surprise!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

I’ve always loved all things Hungarian, from food to the way we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day, it always felt more festive to me. On the flip side, some of the cultural traditions were traded in for American ones. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was an odd mesh of traditional Turkey dinner with a Hungarian twist and side dishes.

 

WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?

For the most part they weren’t too actively/openly concerned about it. There were bits here and there, but nothing on a consistent basis.

 

DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?

Not really. Sometimes my sister and I talked about certain feelings we had around the topic that we’d feel uncomfortable discussing it with anyone else.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

Mixed

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Not actively, although the diversity of people I’ve dated has not been vast; it’s just naturally unfolded that way. My better half now is Caucasian/British with Irish and Scottish roots.

 

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means everything and nothing all at the same time. Everything insofar as having reached the epiphany that I had so many more feelings and complex emotions tied up around being mixed than I cared to recognize over the years, so it is, in a way, very much a part of who I am. And nothing insofar as feeling like it shouldn’t be quite so relevant; sometimes when I get asked the question one too many times, my instinct is to say, why does it matter what I am?

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I do have a solid few mixed friends now! If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s no one way or right/wrong way of identifying with being mixed--- it’s such a vast and complex topic that is also quite personal.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

I abhor the question “What are you?”--- the wording just feel rude, especially when it comes from random people that I don’t even know and out of nowhere!

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET BRITTANI NOEL via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

For people to see people as people and move away from so much labeling. I would love to see the day that race finally becomes less of a hot-button topic.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Part of my journey in coming to terms with certain mixed race issues has been to write a film about it so that we can all connect more openly and compassionately as this community continues to grow. My Kickstarter will be launching soon, so stay tuned!

 

You can follow Brittani Noel on her personal Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

And you can also follow her project The Other Short on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter


 

 

 

 

 

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A LOOK AT 'LOVING'


In the last few weeks I've found myself paralyzed and heavy into my feelings. Everyone across America is dealing with a flood of emotions, but being multiracial adds and extra layer to the confusion.

I find myself gravitating toward my African American and Native American heritage even more as events unfold, but lingering in the back of my head is the fact that I'm a combination from several different worlds. What if somewhere deep in my Caucasian lineage, there are some hateful roots. Did one half of my family contribute to the history of hurt my other half endured? Even though I know my background doesn't affect my character, not all white people are on the regressive side of the issue, it still makes the matter of equality awkward at best. I have to remind myself, though, that things are not as divided and hateful as they seem on the news. Love is the majority and things are changing. 

Biracial relationships have never been a trend that people are wild about, and the children from those relationships have not always been welcome. We're here, though, and becoming more commonplace and less taboo. I think people have an easier time accepting another race than they do accepting another race commingling with their own. It's an angle of racism that doesn't make it to the forefront very often, but it's all I seem to be thinking about lately. While there are people who may hate me simply for being black, there are also people who possibly hate me even more because I'm a mixture of both black and white. Somewhere In my mental tailspin though, I realized that I need to be grateful. Right now, there is still ignorance and some people don't approve, but there was a time when it was actually against the law and a life threatening risk to love outside your race. I felt like I was missing appreciation for where we are now, because I was focused on where we need to be. I thought watching "Loving" might give me a little perspective. That and I really just needed to watch something other than the overload of current event updates on my social media feed.

A LOOK AT 'LOVING' via Swirl Nation Blog

I always want to watch historical movies, but I shy away because they upset, and stick with me. I'm an emotional lightweight, and I can only handle an occasional action movie outside of my romantic comedies. I figured this couldn't be as traumatic as some of the movies about slavery though, so I thought I'd probably be okay. I did get upset, but it wasn't anything that would give me nightmares. It was actually really inspiring to watch the story of the couple who changed the face of civil liberties with regard to interracial marriage. Despite the danger of defying the ruling by the State of Virginia,  they fought their case all the way to the Supreme Court where it was declared unconstitutional for any state to deny a couple the inherent right of marriage based on race. They were jailed, and banished from Virginia because they would not concede to the order requiring them to dissolve their union. They faced great opposition, but persisted and eventually succeeded, creating a monumental change during the Civil Rights Movement.

I loved Ruth Negga as Mildred; in part because she herself is Swirl Nation (Irish and Ethiopian). I wasn't crazy about the husband's portrayal, but then again I don't know the real figure behind the character. Also, there were parts of the movie that were a little slow. Any criticism I have, though, is completely muted by the fact that this was a true story. Their courage was pivotal to our country's history. I was born just 15 years after the ruling, and relatively speaking that's not even a full generation before me. Without the Lovings my very existence would be criminal. That realization alone gave me chills, and left me in awe of the entire movie.

"Loving" the movie, left me thirsty for more stories of people who paved the way for all the liberties I am able to enjoy present day. Recently our country may have taken a few steps back, and uncovered prejudices that hid but did not die, but we have still come such a long way. While it's possible to come across intentional obstacles, distractions, and delays, progress cannot be stopped. Rather than be consumed by what the media strategically shares, I choose to be encouraged knowing that love will prevail and change is inevitable. 

One day interracial and multiracial will be redundant terms used only in history books, because we will all realize that we are a nation full of immigrants and their descendants, and no one's heritage is linear. We all have relatives that mixed things up somewhere along the way, and that's what makes our country the beautiful melting pot that it is.

Multi cultural family.jpg

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LETTERS FROM ADWOA, VALENTINE'S CARDS FEATURING BEAUTIFUL BROWN GIRLS


LETTERS FROM ADWOA, VALENTINE'S CARDS FEATURING BEAUTIFUL BROWN GIRLS via Swirl Nation Blog

We are LOVING this Etsy store called Letters From Adwoa! The online store aims to give young black girls Valentine's Day cards that feature their own likeness to pass out in class. As we all know representation is so important and these cards send a beautiful message! I love the comments in the reviews section of the Etsy page: 

I was totally blown away when these cards arrived. Also, when my daughter saw the cards she said "mommy is that me". Priceless moment!! Love theses cards that represent little black girls
Super fast shipping!!! Items just as pictured!! Thank you so much! My daughter and I absolutely love these beautiful cards! We can't wait to see what new designs you will have in the future. Hopefully you will offer some with little boys?!! Also children with locs 😉 (fingers crossed) will definitely be supporting again.

Etsy Store / Instagram

Personally I don't think Valentine's Day should be the only day each year we share cards such as these. Send the beautiful brown girl in your life one of these precious cards any time of year! 

LETTERS FROM ADWOA, VALENTINE'S CARDS FEATURING BEAUTIFUL BROWN GIRLS via Swirl Nation Blog

 

 

 

 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN


SYLVESTER GASKIN, AGE 35

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT MIX ARE YOU?

My mother is White. Her family is from Sweden and Ireland and immigrated to the US in the 1920’s. My father is Black, but his family is unsure where they originally came from. We think my paternal grandmother is from the Dominican Republic but I’m hoping I can do some more research on my father’s family so I can know for sure.

 

WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?

Maryland

 

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?

It has a large number of Black and White families, but little else from other communities.

 

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?

I am a military kid so I grew up all over the place. Some areas were very diverse and others were entirely White. When I lived on military bases, there were plenty of other mixed kids, so I felt incredibly normal.

 

HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?

They met in the military. Both were pretty young.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog
FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

From what they told me, there were tensions in the beginning. My mother’s family was not supportive of the relationship (they lived in a very conservative part of the Midwest), but my father’s family warmed up to my mom really quick. It wasn’t until after I was born that my mother’s family became somewhat more accepting of my Dad.

 

HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL?

My father’s family has always been supportive. There was a lot of warmth from them, probably because they respected my mother and treated her like part of the family. My mother’s family was not as supportive, but as I grew older and went to college they did their best to keep their opinions to themselves.

 

DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

Most of the celebrations were connected to my father’s background, like eating black eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Most of our family traditions were created by my mom and dad.

 

WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?

Our household was strictly English, though I studied Spanish in high school and Russian in college.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

Probably food. I was able to eat wonderful meals from both sides of my family. Grits, greens, kringla, Swedish meatballs...it’s those meal times that really connected me to my family.

WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?

My family took summer vacations to both sets of grandparents each year to see extended relatives and learn more about cultures and norms. My family encouraged me to ask questions about our ancestors and to take part in whatever customs they practiced (not many to be honest).

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

 

DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?

It wasn’t a major topic of discussion until I was in high school and learning how to drive. My father gave me “the talk” about dealing with the police and what to do in a traffic stop. The important thing I remembered was that I wouldn’t be seen as a kid with a White mother, but as a Black man that could be a threat.

 

DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?

I do identify as Multiracial. I did identify as Black when I was younger, but I no longer wanted to deny both sides of my family. I feel very comfortable identifying as Multiracial.

 

DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?

Race had no factor in who I chose to date. I was looking for a partner who treated me like an equal and could respect my background. In fact, I’ve been married to my partner for almost 7 years. Her family immigrated from Mexico to the US several years ago, so it’s been a joy to be a part of her family and for us to both explore what it means to be in a mixed-race marriage.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?

It means that I’m proud of who I am and have the unique ability to understand what it’s like to be different.

 

DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?

I have a small number of friends who identify as mixed, and we always share stories on how people try to racially identify us or people who are confused when we tell them our parents are of different races. What I’ve learned is that I’m not the only one and there are others who are trying to navigate a world that still struggles to respect mixed people like myself.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

I’m tired of hearing that we are “mutts”, or we’re “confused” and have to choose an identity.

I also hate when people when they try to determine what race we are or tell us “you look like (insert ethnic group here)”.

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL INDIVIDUAL: MEET SYLVESTER GASKIN via Swirl Nation Blog

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

I hope we can get to a point where we can respect everyone’s racial identity and understand that one race isn’t superior to others. We should be able to cherish everyone’s racial differences and respect the customs and traditions everyone brings to our country.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

It’s taken me a long time to understand my identity is a strength and not a weakness. I’m proud to identify as a mixed kid and nobody will ever be able to take that away from me.


 

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FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY


MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

Rick, age 38

Irish, Scottish, and English

Valecia, age 25

African American and Native American

Lorenzo, age 2

Irish, Scottish, English, African American, and Native American

 

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

Richmond, VA

 

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

HOW DID THE TWO OF YOU MEET?

We met through mutual friends in 2012.

 

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

Are biggest obstacle was our age difference. We are 13 years apart in age, and in the beginning it was somewhat difficult because my wife’s family did not like it. Luckily, over time her family got to know me and accepted me into their family.

 

WHAT TRADITIONS DO YOU CELEBRATE IN YOUR HOME?

We have found that our cultures are mostly the same. We both grew up in a working class family with the same religious background.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CULTURAL FEATURE/TRADITION OF YOUR SPOUSE'S RACE?

Her family is very close and she talks to her parents everyday. Unlike myself, I speak to my parents maybe once a month, see them even less. But now I am just as close with her family as she is, and I often go to them for advise as if they were also my blood relatives.

IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN DIVERSE?

Our neighborhood and community is very diverse. We see a lot of mixed race couples and children. Two of my wife’s closest friends have mixed race children as well.

 

DO YOU OR YOUR PARTNER SPEAK IN MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE IN YOUR HOME?

We do not speak any other languages unfortunately.

 

ARE YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORTIVE OF YOUR MULTIRACIAL RELATIONSHIP?

Both of our families have been very supportive of our marriage. We both come from blended families. I have a biracial little sister, and Valecia has an Irish step-father, and a biracial younger brother. Our families are very accepting and supportive.

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR PARTNER'S ETHNIC-CULTURAL BACKGROUND?

My parent’s love hunting, church, and the simple country lifestyle. Valecia’s parents are very into sports and cooking, and fishing.

 

DID YOU FIND BIG DIFFERENCES IN THE WAY YOU GREW UP VS. YOUR SPOUSE DUE TO DIFFERENCES IN RACE?

We honestly don’t see much difference between our childhoods because of our race. Our only difference is that we grew up in different places, and she has a very close knit family.

 

ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?

We both get a lot of questions about our son’s race when the other isn’t around. But when we are out as a family, we get a lot of stares and whispers for mostly older people. But we also get a lot of compliments from younger people.

My wife has had a woman come up to her and asked if she was babysitting, and another situation where the flat out asked is our son was hers. I, on the other hand, have only received positive things from people about our son. People still ask about his race, but they always tell me how handsome he is. I have had a couple of situations though where people would assume that he is my grandson because of my age.

WHAT ACTIONS HAVE YOU TAKEN TO TEACH YOUR CHILD ABOUT EACH OF YOUR BACKGROUNDS?

We make sure to expose our son to both sides of our family, and try to introduce him to other cultures as well. We have friends with many different backgrounds and cultures that we enjoy learning from and would want to expose our son to.

 

HAS YOUR CHILD ASKED ABOUT RACE?

Lorenzo is still too young to understand that there is a difference between us and our family. He also has not started talking in complete sentences yet.

 

DOES YOUR SON IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?  

We like to say that Lorenzo is our little panda bear. We also usually refer to him as simply mixed.

 

HOW DO YOU RAISE YOUR CHILD TO HONOR DIVERSITY IN OTHERS?

We will try to lead by example. We both enjoy experiencing different cultures and feel that that gives us better understanding and respect for those cultures and people. So we want Lorenzo to see this and want to have the same understanding.

 

WHAT UNIQUE CHARACTERISTICS DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE FROM YOU AND YOUR PARTNER?

Lorenzo Looks a lot like his father, but he mostly has his mother’s personality. He also has his mother's smile and eyes, but everything else about his appearance seems to come from me.

FEATURED MULTIRACIAL FAMILY: MEET THE LAMBERT FAMILY via Swirl Nation Blog

HOW DO YOU PLAN ON TEACHING YOUR SON TO BE PROUD OF BEING MIXED?

When Lorenzo gets older, we want him to be proud of all that he is, and understand that even though he may look different from other kids, he is still the same. Being mixed does not make him better than anyone else, but it also does not make him less either.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUTURE AND THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?

Our only dream for our son is that he grows up happy and respectful. We want him to follow his own dreams and paths, and also have compassion for others.

 

You can follow the Lambert family on social media. Snapchat: @Enzosdaddie and @Enzosmommie / Valecia’s IG / Rick’s IG / Lorenzo’s IG


 

 

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HONORING WORLD HIJAB DAY


HONORING WORLD HIJAB DAY via Swirl Nation Blog

Today, February 1st is World Hijab Day. One of our founders, Amal, is supporting in her city of Dallas, TX. During a time when hatred and anti-immigrant sentiments are at an all-time high, the movement, now in its 5th year is more important than ever. 

The overall mission of WHD is to create a more peaceful world where global citizens respect each other. Particularly, WHD focuses on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. This is most crucial in these times where Hijab is being banned in some countries while in other countries, Muslim women are being targeted and harassed verbally and physically. We must stand for Muslim women's right to cover. There are many ways to show your solidarity and it is not too late to participate!

More more information go to their website.

On social media share your photos using #Istand4Hijab #WorldHijabDay


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YOU ARE INVITED: #WHEREISBEAUTY SCREENING AT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL


The short film, #WhereIsBeauty, is about an introspective visual artist dealing with the pressures of social media embarks on a journey of self-discovery capturing everyday life through hashtags which unexpectedly transforms her perspective of beauty.

YOU ARE INVITED: #WHEREISBEAUTY SCREENING AT THE PAN AFRICAN FILM FESTIVAL via Swirl Nation Blog

The countdown to the Pan African Film Festival has officially begun...  We hope to see you at one of the two screenings!

#WhereIsBeauty is screening at the 25th Annual Pan African Film Festival on Friday, Feb. 10th at 3pm and Wednesday Feb. 15th at 2pm. 

The screenings take place in Los Angeles at the Cinemark RAVE Cinemas 15 - 4020 Marlton Ave at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

The mission of the Pan African Film Festival is to:

Present and showcase the broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help destroy negative stereotypes. We believe film and art can lead to better understanding and foster communication between peoples of diverse cultures, races, and lifestyles, while at the same time serve as a vehicle to initiate dialogue on the important issues of our times.

 

Please go HERE to purchase your tickets, festival passes and learn more about the festival.

 

Please JOIN the conversation and you can also follow the film on social media. 

IMDB / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

 

Here is a full list of films being shown at the festival.


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