So excited to profile Stevvi this week! I met Stevvi through Jenn a couple years ago and I was instantly attracted to her super open and beautiful spirit! Stevvi is often flying all over the world as a musician sharing her incredible vocal talents. She is also a mother and a beautiful human inside and out! Enjoy getting to know her!
NAME AND AGE
Stevvi Alexander, age 41
WHAT MIX ARE YOU?
African - Nigerian, Ghanaian and English, German
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
IS THE COMMUNITY YOU LIVE IN NOW DIVERSE?
Not really - A lot of hipsters :) but mostly white!
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up in Claremont, California 30 mins outside of LA. It was not a diverse community but of the few folks of color who were around surprisingly, many were mixed!
HOW DID YOUR PARENTS MEET?
They were both working at Kaiser Sunset Hospital in Hollywood. My mother as a nurse and my father as a respiratory therapist.
WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT OBSTACLES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP CORRELATED TO YOUR BACKGROUNDS?
Nothing other than society’s general lack of support and acceptance of multi-racial relationships!
HAS YOUR EXTENDED FAMILY ALWAYS BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF YOU BEING MULTIRACIAL/BIRACIAL?
Our family is very exceptional in that both sides of my family are AWESOME! Both sides of the family are Christian and Christian in the truest sense. There was no ignorance or racism as it pertained to my parents falling in love and getting married. So rare!
DID YOU CELEBRATE TRADITIONS FROM BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?
Yup, we ate generic Shake and Bake chicken like middle-American White People and we went to church a lot, like ALL Black people. Those are the traditions of both sides in this country and we practiced ‘em!
WERE THERE MULTIPLE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
We were an English-speaking household - but shout out to my Mom who has been working on Spanish for years now in an effort to ingratiate herself to the Latino population of Los Angeles :)
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR CULTURAL BACKGROUND?
I think one of the things I enjoy the most about my multi-ethnic background is the fact that I tend to take people for who they are as individuals versus having a generalized backstory for an entire group of people. I feel that I have intimately encountered so many types of people as a result of my family that I genuinely relate to and appreciate people who others might overlook or write off. I know for a fact that stereotypes do not always hold true and this perspective allows me to have a lot of positive experiences with such a wide range of people and personalities.
WHAT ACTIONS DID YOUR PARENTS TAKE TO TEACH YOU ABOUT YOUR DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS?
To be honest, none! We just lived our truth. The differences in their skin was a non-issue within our house.
DID YOU TALK ABOUT RACE A LOT IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I will say that my dad definitely discussed race A LOT! He is someone who is very conscious of racism and classism throughout society and while it was a non-issue within our home (meaning there were never any direct conversations about our differences among us) he frequently started conversations about the injustice of society at large.
DO YOU IDENTIFY AS MIXED OR SOMETHING ELSE?
I identify as a black woman.
DOES RACE WEIGH INTO WHO YOU CHOOSE TO DATE?
In the past I have always been considerably more attracted to black men. That is evolving by the second and I am finding myself much more open and possibly even anticipating my next relationship to be with someone who is not of color.
WHAT DOES BEING MIXED MEAN TO YOU?
Hmmmm, as a result of the whole when “you’re mixed, you’re black” thing I’ve kind of just tried to bury the whole experience. I’ve definitely not played up the confusion and disorientation of having a multi-racial mix because it almost sounded whiny in the grand scheme of life and I’ve been made to feel as though it ISN’T an issue worthy of discussion.
I have definitely had the tough experiences of never being “black enough” to my black friends and always being just enough of an outsider to white people that when I was invited it generally felt a lot less like acceptance and more of “let’s make sure we invite you because you’re different” type of thing. All in all being mixed to me simply means that I have to learn how to embrace others that much more fully because I know better than other people that we all deserve respect and acceptance!!
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF FRIENDS WHO ARE MIXED?
I do have a lot of friends who are mixed! I have learned that they are generally under the belief that they should identify as black or else it’s viewed as an affront to the community at large. I’ve learned that for many of them it was a traumatizing experience resulting in feelings of isolation. Three of my five serious relationships were with mixed guys and it always seemed to be a point of bonding for us.
ARE THERE ANY COMMENTS YOU ARE REALLY TIRED OF HEARING FROM PEOPLE IN REGARDS TO RACE/CULTURE?
I’m sick of hearing that I’m not black enough. I think it’s horrifying when white people fetishize mixed people as though it is some sort of eugenic jackpot. I’m tired of hearing that someone’s baby will be especially cute because their parents are of two different nationalities. Those are all really horrible, insensitive things to say :(
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM FOR THE FUTURE OF AMERICA IN REGARDS TO RACE?
I know that it’s a long time coming but my hope is that one day people will switch on their brains and stop generalizing whole groups of people, allowing for more opportunity to land on people who work hard and prove themselves to be trustworthy and great. I would love for our society to be less classist and racist and more based on an individual’s will and self-possession. I wish that huge swaths of cultural groups would not hoard together but would get out and trouble themselves to know someone else who is not just like them! It makes for a mind-expanding and enlightened experience here on this planet when people actually take a chance and expose themselves to people who don’t look, sound, speak, eat or live exactly as they do!