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inspiration

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IN MY HEADPHONES: MARCEL KHALIFE'S ANDALUSIA OF LOVE


IN MY HEADPHONES: MARCEL KHALIFE'S ANDALUSIA OF LOVE via Swirl Nation Blog

The new album from Lebanese composer and oud player, Marcel Khalife, is purely magical.  I close my eyes and can feel the desert breeze caressing my sun-scorched face.  I cannot help keeping time to every drum beat with my hips and tears fill my eyes from pure love, passion, longing…

IN MY HEADPHONES: MARCEL KHALIFE'S ANDALUSIA OF LOVE via Swirl Nation Blog

I don’t speak Arabic.  I know the curse words, but even those I say incorrectly.  You don’t need to know Arabic to feel the emotion in the words and rhythms of Khalife’s songs.  If you are not into world music, or venturing out of your normal realm of familiar music, this album might not be for you.  If you love dreamy melodies and songs that tell a story, this album could be for you.  The story, the drama, is in the music, and it is meant to be felt.

Andalusia used to be home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.  For centuries, they lived in peace together.  This album conjures that optimism and reminds us it is possible.  Although Khalife is Christian, his lyrics come from the late Palestinian-Muslim poet, Mahmoud Darwish.

In melding faith, culture, and language, Khalife also brings together jazz, classical, and traditional Middle Eastern sounds to this album.  And true to his message of remembering a time when faiths lived together in harmony, the combination of music genres works together to create something beautiful.

The album feels like an opera, you might want to listen to one song alone, but you know the experience is richer if you listen to the whole album – beginning to end. 

My favorite way to experience a culture is through food, but if the food is not readily available, music is the next best thing.  Music humanizes, it transcends boundaries, so let the dream begin, and be transported…


 

 

 

 

 

 

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SWIRL NATION BLOG IS ON VACATION!


Thanks for visiting our blog! We are currently on summer vacation and will be back with more Swirl Nation Goodness on August 4th. Until then please enjoy the last 6 months of content, you can find links to content by specific bloggers in the "Blogger Bios" section. 

And if you are looking for a little travel inspiration I thought I would share the spots my daughter and I are visiting for our summer adventure!

I visited Belize alone last summer and fell in love with the tiny island of Caye Caulker. No cars, just bikes and golf carts, Caye Caulker is a laid-back beachy haven. I am super excited to head back there and give my daughter a chance to experience it this time around! 

CAYE CAULKER, BELIZE

 

After Caye Caulker we will hop on a tiny plane and explore Placencia, Belize. I found out about Placencia from my Dental Hygienist! She is from there and told me it had the best beaches in Belize, that was all the convincing I needed so that will be our 2nd stop on our journey! 

PLACENCIA, BELIZE

 

From Placencia we are leaving Belize and traveling to Honduras! Our first stop will be 2 nights on the island of Little French Key! Little French Key is a private island which used to just be for day excursions but recently they built a beach house on the island and you can rent a room to stay overnight, so we are staying for 2 nights! Our plan on LFK is to do the bulk of our water adventures like horseback riding in the ocean, snorkeling, and more. I am guessing this might be my daughter's favorite part of the trip! 

LITTLE FRENCH KEY, ROATAN HONDURAS

 

From Little French Key we will head to Roatan proper and spend a week exploring this snorkel and scuba heaven. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands of Honduras and it sits atop the worlds second largest coral reef. I found Roatan simply by looking at a map and figuring we were already going to go to Belize, so what else was relatively nearby. I saw Roatan, Pinterest searched it and decided I HAD TO GO THERE!  It looks like paradise and I am super excited to see how it compares to Belize. While in Roatan we will stay in an Airbnb on the beach for the first half and then we will finish our trip at a beautiful hotel. 

ROATAN, HONDURAS

I am beyond excited to share this trip with my daughter! Expect lots of photos upon my return! 

xx jen


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STOWAWAY COSMETICS - HAPA TESTED!


STOWAWAY COSMETICS - HAPA TESTED via Swirl Nation Blog

Makeup and I have not had a very long relationship in the grand scheme of things. Some people start slathering it on in their tweens... Rest assured, I was most definitely not one of those people. If I remember correctly, the first time I began using makeup in earnest (aka not for winter formal or prom) was after a breakup in college. I know, a little petty, I admit it.

My first attempt was over the top, bright red lipstick and a bit heavy on the eyeshadow, but I quickly realized that less is more for me, so I ditched my high school makeup in favor of more eco-friendly brands that wouldn’t be as hard on my very sensitive skin. I’m not going to lie--it can at times be an expensive and losing battle. Early on in my makeup experimentation, it became apparent that most eye makeup is not meant to stick on a Hapa’s lids. Or at the very least, not this Hapa’s lids.

When I had a little more time in my life, I scoured the internet for tutorials on how to get my eyeliner to stay put and how to apply it in a way that worked for my eyelids, since I don’t have a monolid, but a very slight double lid. Take note, vloggers and bloggers, last I checked, there are very few tutorials that talk about how to apply your eye makeup when you don’t quite have a monolid and you definitely don’t have that standard double lid. Is there even a name for what I have? If anyone knows it, kindly tell me so I can finally have a defined term for my eyelid makeup anatomy. The closest I found back in the day was from The Beauty Department titled, “Winged Liner for a Droopy Lid.” Gee, thanks for that. Helpful? Maybe. Ego boosting? No.

 
I’m not gonna lie, I still love my red lipstick. This one’s Stowaway in Cranberry. I’ve also got Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style necklace on. #sufferforfashion

I’m not gonna lie, I still love my red lipstick. This one’s Stowaway in Cranberry. I’ve also got Rachel Zoe’s Box of Style necklace on. #sufferforfashion

In my quest for eco-friendly eyeliner that stays put, I luckily found 100% Pure’s pot gel liner, but I’m not including a link to it because guess what? It doesn’t exist anymore. I think they stopped making it in 2014 and I’ve been heartbroken ever since. But the one problem I’ve always run into with my makeup, including this extinct gel liner, is that I don’t use it fast enough to justify the cost. Eventually, I’ve always had to throw out my costly purchases long past their expiration date. Enter Stowaway Cosmetics.

I found out about this brand because I’m addicted to The Zoe Report’s little lists and blogs that pop up every five seconds on my Facebook feed. It’s a never ending cycle because I can’t resist clicking on basically all of them. I haven’t been paid to plug any of these brands, by the way, I’m just a victim of fashion and social media, I promise. So back to Stowaway. This brand caught my eye because of its small packaging and portions that are designed to be used within the three month expiration period, so when I first heard about it and realized I wouldn’t have to throw out half tubes of expired things anymore, I was pretty excited. That being said, I’m a big stickler for what goes into cosmetics as well, so before purchasing, I checked out their FAQ. When I found out that they were EU compliant, cruelty-free, and gluten-free (a few of their products are vegan, but not all of them), I decided that I’d give this brand a try.

I ordered myself The Basics Kit, which is $75, customizable based on your skin tone, and you get to pick the colors you want for your eyeliner, blush, and lipstick. Since getting the kit, I’ve pretty much pared down my makeup collection to what you see in this photo:

STOWAWAY COSMETICS - HAPA TESTED via Swirl Nation Blog

Here’s what came in my Stowaway Basics Kit:

  • Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm in Light
  • Creaseless Concealer in Light
  • Cheek & Lip Rouge in Peony
  • Creme Lipstick in Raspberry and I got a freebie for signing up for their email list, so I picked Cranberry as my second one
  • Effortless Eyeliner in Jet
  • Extreme Lash Mascara

Supplements to my kit:

When my Stowaway order arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was shipped in very minimal packaging, and while each item was individually boxed, there was none of that awful plastic to rip off of the tubes themselves. All of the makeup tubes and containers have a slightly rubberized feel that’s very grippable and makes these tiny products easy to use without feeling like you’re working with doll-sized cosmetics. And they’re so easy to stowaway! Okay, that was the only stowaway pun I’m throwing in here, I promise. But enough geeking out about the packaging--let’s talk about the makeup. I’m going to do my best to talk about the makeup in the order I apply it to keep things simple.

Clockwise from Upper Right:  Eyeliner in Jet, Lipstick in Raspberry, Lipstick in Cranberry, Cheek & Lip Rouge in Peony, Concealer in Light, Beauty Balm in Light

Clockwise from Upper Right: Eyeliner in Jet, Lipstick in Raspberry, Lipstick in Cranberry, Cheek & Lip Rouge in Peony, Concealer in Light, Beauty Balm in Light

So the Beauty Balm is admittedly one of those products I rarely use. If I include applying it to show you in this blog, I’ve used it twice. I feel like my freckly Hapa complexion, though a little red and/or shiny at times and sometimes acne-prone, is fine on its own--you know what? Better than fine. It’s awesome. I also hate the feeling of anything aside from a very light moisturizer on my face, and though this BB is lightweight, I’m talking about Princess and the Pea sensitive here. I can feel it. But I can see why this product might be nice if you want to even your tone out, and it really does do that. However, the BB in Light made me look a little orange depending on the lighting and what I was wearing.

Here I am feeling a little orange and not nearly as toned or as tan as my photo bombing younger brother.

Here I am feeling a little orange and not nearly as toned or as tan as my photo bombing younger brother.

I was surprised that the Light tone would do this to me, and though I’m no expert on foundation or BB’s, it seems a little strange that a BB labelled Light would be so… Orange. I’m also pretty certain that if I got the lightest of the tones, Fair, I would look a little chalky and it wouldn’t match my skin’s undertone at all. Maybe if I get a good tan I can wear this BB and feel more comfortable in it, but for now I’m fine just using the concealer in Light for any rogue zits and undereye coverage, since it seems a little more forgiving tonally than the BB. All you need is a small dot of concealer and then just blend it with your finger, it provides great coverage.

Along with anything skin tone related, my biggest trepidation when I go to buy makeup is eyeliner and mascara because I have trouble getting these to stay put. If I use normal eyeliner, it inevitably ends up all over my top eyelids and my mascara can end up smearing on my lower lids. Not a good look. I was really dubious of the eyeliner at first, since I usually stick with gel or liquid, but found that it does have some serious staying power as does the mascara. I’ve worn these while working 10+ hour days at my 6 Degrees of Hapa pop-up in 100º heat… And my eyeliner and mascara only smudged just a little.

A  little too blunt for my liking.

A  little too blunt for my liking.

The application of the eyeliner itself can be a little funky, because the eyeliner really didn’t self-sharpen as it claims to. Mine ended up looking like a tiny, stubby crayon tip after one use. But luckily the eyeliner itself is so small that even when it is blunt, it still can draw a relatively thin line given a little patience. I haven’t attempted a cat eye with this, though, I think it might be a little too advanced for this eyeliner. My other trick that I always use to make sure these two products (of any brand) keep off my eyelids is to dust foundation powder on my top and bottom lids with an eyeshadow brush to keep them from getting oily. This usually helps keep me from looking like a racoon by the end of the day.

Though I’m not too big on eyeshadow, I was really excited when Stowaway announced their tiny eyeshadow palette. I haven’t used it thoroughly yet, but I think that the eight shades have potential if you want to add a little extra to your look. The palette comes with a very small double-ended brush that’s not my favorite thing to use, since it makes applying the shadow evenly feel like a bit of a challenge. For me, the best thing about this eyeshadow palette is that it has a matte dark brown shade that works really well for my eyebrow filler and... This whole kit is way smaller than my old two shade eyebrow filler palette alone.

Where the eyeshadow palette might be lacking in color, the Cheek & Lip Rouge in Peony has me covered. It adds a nice pop to my cheeks without looking unnatural and the packaging for this is pretty cute with a little mirror to peek in if you’re out and about. I have a round face, so when I apply blush I tend to apply by dabbing a little of this rouge from my temples in a slight curve down to the apples of my cheeks to create more structure (aka the only type of contouring I’ll ever attempt). One of my favorite things to do right now is to use my blush as my eyeshadow--don’t scream in horror, it actually looks really good if done minimally. I just apply a little in and above the crease of my upper eyelid and blend. That being said, I probably won’t be using this shade on my lips, since it’s a little too matte for my liking as a lip product.

Tiny enough to fit in the smallest of clutches? You bet.

Tiny enough to fit in the smallest of clutches? You bet.

Speaking of lips… I love their lipstick. Stowaway’s lipsticks are really smooth, don’t have that weird lipstick smell, and the application is really easy. I haven’t had any problems with these drying out my lips, which is a deal breaker for me. I tried out a trick from their video tip, which was dabbing some concealer on your lips to get it to have more staying power and to get the color to pop, and it seems to do the trick. The one thing I’d recommend is that you probably want to pick up a clear lip liner to keep it from feathering. I have yet to do this, but it’s on my very very shortlist of makeup needs (pun intended).

 

Putting it all together:

All dressed up with nowhere to go in my Stowaway Cosmetics + Box of Style caftan & necklace. I’ve got my lipstick in Raspberry on here along with the rest of the kit.

All dressed up with nowhere to go in my Stowaway Cosmetics + Box of Style caftan & necklace. I’ve got my lipstick in Raspberry on here along with the rest of the kit.

My Hapa complexion and eye shape (I refuse to call it droopy) can make finding makeup that works for me a bit of a struggle. If I really wanted a BB for everyday wear, I’d have to keep looking for one that actually fits my skin tone, but I do think Stowaway’s eyeliner and mascara really work for me and I’d definitely get the rouge and lipsticks again. This kit might be one of my best purchases of the year--it makes packing my makeup bag super simple, keeps me from making overly complicated makeup mistakes I’ll regret when I look at Instagram later, and I’ve even started using makeup a little more often because I know it’s going to stay put.

I ordered my kit at the end of April and it’s now the beginning July, and to be honest, I’m probably not going to be able to use up all of my makeup before its three month expiration date. But now I know what I like out of the kit and what I don’t think I need to get again, like the BB, and frankly, $75 for six products is a lot better than spending what I had been on less portable cosmetics that I wasn’t ever going to be able to use up on time. The one concern I did have about Stowaway was that they didn’t have a recycling program for used products, but lo and behold, they introduced one!

The two things that would be on my Stowaway release wishlist would have to be a clear lip liner and a foundation powder. These two additions for me would make this the ultimate cosmetics kit, because it would give my makeup that much more wearability and longevity for the long days I tend to work. I also wouldn’t mind if they expanded the BB line to include more tones, because as we all know, people come in many shades. Have any of your tried Stowaway or want to share some tips for mixed makeup wearers?


 

 

 

 

 

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OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR 'LOVING'


OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR 'LOVING' via Swirl Nation Blog

Be prepared to be in tears just watching the trailer for Loving. The movie tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, who are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married. This was the couple at the center of the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that overturned laws against interracial marriage.

The film debuted in Cannes a couple months ago and won't be in theaters until early November. Actors Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play the Lovings and both have some really poignet lines that are shared in the trailer. 

The Lovings' lawyer asks Richard: 

“Is there anything you’d like me to say to the Supreme Court justices of the United States?” and Richard replies: “Yeah. Tell the judge I love my wife.”

I also love the when Mildred says:

“I know we have some enemies. But we have some friends too.”

While researching the actors I discovered that Ruth Negga is biracial herself, she was born to an Ethiopian father and an Irish mother. So I would have to imagine this was an especially powerful experience for her. She said in an interview with The Guardian

“Partly my feelings of difference were down to having parents of different races. I had quite a scattered childhood. I was Irish in London, because I had my secondary school education there. I never really fitted anywhere. I didn’t feel it was a negative thing and I was never made to feel different – I just knew I was.”

In the same interview she sites Mildred Loving as a one of her heroes, 

“Mildred shied away from the spotlight completely, but she changed the course of American legal history. All she wanted to do was marry the man she loved. It took nine years. Can you imagine taking on the might of the American legal system? They were poor and fairly uneducated, but they just wanted to be with one another.” 

Even though I know it to be true, it is amazing to me that this is such recent history in our country. This is definitely a movie I will be going to and I will be bringing my 12 year old daughter as well so she can understand the difficult path many multiracial individuals and interracial couples have had. I hope that everyone who has any connection to the multiracial community goes out and supports this movie. The movie will be rated PG-13. 

OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR 'LOVING' via Swirl Nation Blog

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#Perfect Never- Why Ronda Rousey’s changing up the winner take all motto


#Perfect Never- Ronda Rousey via Swirl Nation Blog

Ronda Rousey was the hottest thing our generation had seen bringing a new face, attitude, spirit, and mold to the world of UFC fighting. In 2015 with guest spot in late night shows, movie cameos, magazine covers, and a 12-0 record, she was undefeated and unmatched. She may have not been everyone’s cup of tea but she brought a competitive edge and unique fierce athleticism to an underserved sport in mainstream media. It was only after her infamous knockout to Holly Holms that set social media ablaze and Rousey was into a corner which she had never been accustomed to in her career…defeat.

Now after her “career defining loss,” there is buzz that she could be returning to the Octagon at the end of 2016 or as early as 2017 possibly facing Amanda Nunes. This amazing new ad that was just dropped Monday definitely teases the prospect of her comeback and is giving the world a possibly humbled Rousey. For an athlete who prided herself on peak performance and commitment to her craft it’s impressive to see her literally taking all the make-up off and taking claim over her flaws. You may not have liked the Rousey of yesteryears but this campaign #PerfectNever gives an ideal that all women and athletes alike can adopt into their own lifestyle. 


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NEW NIKE SPOT 'DA DA DING' FEATURES LEADING FEMALE, INDIAN ATHLETES


NEW NIKE SPOT 'DA DA DING' FEATURES LEADING FEMALE, INDIAN ATHLETES via Swirl Nation Blog

I am totally in love with the new Nike spot 'Da Da Ding' by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy India. W+K has long been Nike's ad agency, but this is the first spot out of the India office. The commercial was directed in a music video style by Francois Rousselet. The beat and the music is amazing, at first I thought it was a Neptunes/Missy collabo but it is actually the rapper Gizzle and producer Gener8ion

The Creative Director on the commercial, Mohamed Rizwan, said in a statement: 

"Sport in India has a massive image problem, particularly for women. What we set out to do is give it a complete makeover by making it cool, accessible and fun. To that end, we commissioned some of the best image makers and musicians, and got together a crew of women that best represent sport in India right now."

The tone is energetic and uplifting. I love sports and I love to watch badass women breaking stereotypes. It is important for young girls to see strong women from their country, from their cities, destroying barriers and building confidence through sports. 

Actress Deepika Padukone, who played national-level badminton before taking the plunge into acting confirms this message by sharing, 

“Everything I am today and everything I have achieved comes from my years of playing sport. My goals, my commitment, my focus, my dedication, my discipline, my sacrifices, my hard work. All of it, I’ve learnt it all through sport. Sport has also taught me how to handle failure and success. It has taught me how to fight. It has made me unstoppable!”

One part of the video I felt was particularly impactful was when they zeroed in on one of the female athlete's tanned face with the lyric: 

"I ain't worried about getting a tan because I'm still just as beautiful man." 

In many cultures of course lighter skin has been established as what is more beautiful and therefore girls playing outside all day in the sun has been frowned upon. I love that this issue was addressed. 

NEW NIKE SPOT 'DA DA DING' FEATURES LEADING FEMALE, INDIAN ATHLETES via Swirl Nation Blog

Here is the group of women featured in the ad: 

The featured athletes L to R: Joshna Chinappa, Shweta Hakke, Rani Rampal, Gabriella Demetriades, Ishita Malaviya, Jaie Bhadane, Deepika Padukone, Naina Mansukhani, Swetha Subbiah, Jyoti Ann Burrett and Tanvie Hans. 

The featured athletes L to R: Joshna Chinappa, Shweta Hakke, Rani Rampal, Gabriella Demetriades, Ishita Malaviya, Jaie Bhadane, Deepika Padukone, Naina Mansukhani, Swetha Subbiah, Jyoti Ann Burrett and Tanvie Hans. 

And if you are like me and can't get enough of that beat here is the song on Soundcloud! 


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BOOK REVIEW: "THE GILDED YEARS" BY KARIN TANABE


The lead character’s real picture from the late 1800s

The lead character’s real picture from the late 1800s

While reading TheSkimm, I stumbled on this book review:

 

“The Gilded Years” by Karin Tanabe
Based on the true story of the first African-American woman to ever go to Vassar College. The catch? No one knew she was African-American. After befriending the school’s Serena van der Woodsen, she has to work even harder at keeping her secret. Think: “Gatsby” meets college meets an impressive beach read.
 

My favorite book genre is historical fiction, my favorite era to read about is early 20th century, and I’m obsessed with women becoming modern and the struggle of Blacks post-slavery and pre-Civil Rights.  This book was perfect.  I have so little time and reading a book is very far down on my list of to-dos, so I rarely make time for this, but making time for this book was worth it.  I didn’t submit blog posts (sorry Jen!!!), to make time to read this book.  Luckily, it is a quick-read.

 

Because this book is based on history, resist the urge to google the lead character’s name.  Information about her life is available online, but the twists and turns of her story won’t be as sweet if you read about her life before finishing the book.  I am impatient, so I did google her, but I’m famous for not minding spoilers.

 

The lead character straddles between different worlds – Black/White, rich/poor – to seek a better future for herself that would be denied her if she did not pretend to be someone she is not.  It also addresses guilt amongst black people who aren’t “representing” and the pressure to be the poster child for a whole group of people.  The author, Karin Tanabe, put considerable time and research into writing this book.  She is a Vassar graduate and searched archives, even using real newspaper headlines printed in the late 1800s in the book.  Definitely read the afterward when you finish the book to gain more insight into how this story was discovered and uncovered.  The descendent of the lead character is doing further research on her family to determine if they are related to Thomas Jefferson, so I don’t think the story ends with this book.

 

One of the reasons I love reading about this era is the description of the times.  I love reading about the clothing, décor, and social activities.  The innocence of courtship and the chivalry of the men are always appealing to me.  I grew up reading Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, so a gloved-hand grazing a man’s arm is so much more up my alley than the explicit sexual encounters you’ll find in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The lead character’s real picture from the late 1800s

The lead character’s real picture from the late 1800s

I highly recommend this book and look forward to hearing what you thought about it in the comments below! You can purchase the book HERE.


 

 

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NOTEWORTHY BLACK, BIRACIAL INDIVIDUALS


This blog was of course created to celebrate Multiracial Individuals and Families, so we have started to compile lists of well-known people who are mixed race. First up is a list of individuals who are mixed with black- some well-known and others were a surprise to us!

There are TONS more, please leave us a comment with some other individuals and we will add to our list! Remember this list is specifically mixed people who are part black, we will be compiling additional lists for noteworthy individuals of other mixtures so feel free to leave those individuals in the comments as well! 

You can also consider this our Featured Multiracial Individual wish list;) 

Barack Obama. Obviously we had to start with the leader of the free world! Barack was born to a Kenyan father and a white American mother. 

Barack Obama. Obviously we had to start with the leader of the free world! Barack was born to a Kenyan father and a white American mother. 

 
Jennifer Beals. The actress was born to a black father and a white mother.

Jennifer Beals. The actress was born to a black father and a white mother.

 
Frederick Douglass. The abolitionist was born to a black mother and white father. 

Frederick Douglass. The abolitionist was born to a black mother and white father. 

 
Booker T. Washington. The champion for black rights was born to a black mother and white father. 

Booker T. Washington. The champion for black rights was born to a black mother and white father. 

 
Kamala Harris. Harris is the California Attorney General and was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. She is the first female, Asian-American and African-American lawyer for the state.

Kamala Harris. Harris is the California Attorney General and was born to an Indian mother and a Jamaican father. She is the first female, Asian-American and African-American lawyer for the state.

 
Benjamin Jealous. The former NCAAP President has a black mother and a white father. 

Benjamin Jealous. The former NCAAP President has a black mother and a white father. 

 
Maya Rudolph. The actress has a black mother and a white father. 

Maya Rudolph. The actress has a black mother and a white father. 

 
Lenny Kravitz. The singer has black mother and a white, Jewish father. 

Lenny Kravitz. The singer has black mother and a white, Jewish father. 

 
Lisa Bonet. The actress was born to a white, Jewish mother and a black father. 

Lisa Bonet. The actress was born to a white, Jewish mother and a black father. 

 
Wentworth Miller. The actor was born to a white mother and black father. 

Wentworth Miller. The actor was born to a white mother and black father. 

 
Rashida Jones. The actress was born to a white mother and black father. 

Rashida Jones. The actress was born to a white mother and black father. 

 
Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. The actor, comedian and athlete was born to a black father and a Samoan mother. 

Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. The actor, comedian and athlete was born to a black father and a Samoan mother. 

 
Drake. The rapper was born to a white, Jewish mother and a black father.

Drake. The rapper was born to a white, Jewish mother and a black father.

 
James McBride. The journalist and jazz musician was born to a white, Jewish mother and a black father. 

James McBride. The journalist and jazz musician was born to a white, Jewish mother and a black father. 

 
Jasmine Guy. The actress was born to a Portuguese mother and black father. 

Jasmine Guy. The actress was born to a Portuguese mother and black father. 

 
Albert and Allen Hughes. The Directors were born to an Armenian mother and a black father. 

Albert and Allen Hughes. The Directors were born to an Armenian mother and a black father. 

 
Faith Evans. The signer was born to a black mother and a white father. 

Faith Evans. The signer was born to a black mother and a white father. 

 
Slash aka Saul Hudson. The guitarist was born to a black mother and a white father. 

Slash aka Saul Hudson. The guitarist was born to a black mother and a white father. 

 
Bob Marley. The reggae legend was born to a black mother and white father. 

Bob Marley. The reggae legend was born to a black mother and white father. 

 
Sade. The singer was born to a Nigerian father and white mother. 

Sade. The singer was born to a Nigerian father and white mother. 

 
August Wilson. The playwright was born to a black mother and white father. 

August Wilson. The playwright was born to a black mother and white father. 

 
Zadie Smith. The author was born to a Jamaican mother and white father. 

Zadie Smith. The author was born to a Jamaican mother and white father. 

 
Malcolm Gladwell. The journalist was born to a Jamaican mother and white father. 

Malcolm Gladwell. The journalist was born to a Jamaican mother and white father. 

 
Jordin Sparks. The actress and singer was born to a black father and a white mother.

Jordin Sparks. The actress and singer was born to a black father and a white mother.

 
Derek Jeter. The baseball player was born to a white mother and black father. 

Derek Jeter. The baseball player was born to a white mother and black father. 

 
Kimora Lee Simmons. The former model and business woman was born to a Japanese mother and black father. 

Kimora Lee Simmons. The former model and business woman was born to a Japanese mother and black father. 

 
Alicia Keys. The singer was born to a white mother and black father. 

Alicia Keys. The singer was born to a white mother and black father. 

 
Kelis. The musician was born to a black father and a Puerto Rican and Chinese mother. 

Kelis. The musician was born to a black father and a Puerto Rican and Chinese mother. 

Halle Berry. The actress was born to a white mother and black father.

Halle Berry. The actress was born to a white mother and black father.

 
Blake Griffin. The basketball player was born to a white mother and black father. 

Blake Griffin. The basketball player was born to a white mother and black father. 

 
Jesse Williams. The actor was born to a white mother and black father. 

Jesse Williams. The actor was born to a white mother and black father. 

 
Zendaya. The actress was born to a black father and white mother. 

Zendaya. The actress was born to a black father and white mother. 


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WHY JESSE WILLIAMS' SPEECH WAS A STEP FORWARD FOR MULTIRACIAL PEOPLE


WHY JESSE WILLIAMS' SPEECH WAS A STEP FORWARD FOR MULTIRACIAL PEOPLE via Swirl Nation Blog

So by now we’ve all seen, heard, possibly reposted, retweeted and bared witness to the glory that was Jesse Williams accepting his BET Humanitarian award last weekend. Unlike most trending topics, this speech is still wagging on the tips of people’s tongues. Whether you understood the context of the speech (I’m side-eyeing you Tomi Lahren), or don’t agree with it (really you 316 petitioners trying to get him fired) it made waves. Many are familiar with Williams from his long standing acting career on Grey’s Anatomy, but what many people didn’t know is that he is a black/white, a biracial man. Why is this important? Does it really matter? For those of us who have struggled to make arguments for political stances for either of the many cultures we may represent, it does.

You don’t understand. You’re not really black. You are privileged. You are white-washed. You are capable of “passing,” (when a person classified as a member of one racial group is also accepted as a member of a different racial group.) These are a few of many micro-aggressions I have been told in my life when it comes to making a stance on the politics concerning my ethnic background. It may sound absurd and you may think who cares, but when a multiracial person is bullied or challenged in their beliefs because they physically or ethnically don’t fully represent that culture 100%, it is. I was moved by Williams’ speech, and I know regardless of race it would have happened either way because he spoke with intellect, truth, vigor, and conviction that had me literally clapping in my living room.

In the heat of the twitter moment people were too busy quoting and praising for me to see any real harping on the fact he’s not 100% black. Then again, once the trolling finally stopped towards Mr. Timberlake, it didn’t take too long for the articles to start emerging about Jesse’s background. Some of the most telling articles thankfully showcased him owning his biracial identity and recognizing the privilege it has afforded him. In a past article with The Guardian he stated “I know how white people talk about black people. I know how black people talk about white folks. I know I am there and everyone speaks honestly around me.” There’s even been a video circulating on Facebook in which he discusses his European features and that he doesn’t ignore his privilege but instead uses it to bring awareness to racism and social injustice.

When I saw Jesse standing proudly and using his platform to speak towards the oppression of Black people, his people, who cheered and praised his eloquence, I knew it is indeed possible to speak about the injustices of my cultures without meeting constant strife. I admired him because he was bold, brave and relentless in empowering those around him to stand for a cause, and nobody questioned him, nobody booed him, nobody said “You’re not ____ enough.” I’m hoping despite the naysayers that will always feel the need to tower over multiracial people for not being 100% anything that this will at least give pause to the comments and allow us the space to speak our truth first. You won’t know what we have to say if you don’t let us say it. You won’t be able to hear our empathy and understanding if you can’t see past our skin tone. You won’t know that we want to help provide support and equality for every culture we may represent if you can’t move out of our way and allow us to walk with you.


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MEET SILVERLAKE-BASED INDIE SONGWRITER DUO, PUBLIC ART


It's always exciting to get to share the talents of friends and this is no exception. In April we featured singer Stevvi Alexander, today we get to share with you her newest project, Public Art. 

Public Art is a Silverlake-based indie songwriter duo. Its members, Stevvi and Jan, have been in demand as hired gun musicians for artists including Fleetwood Mac, Frank Ocean, Shakira and The Roots. They finally decided to join forces and make their own noise. 

If you like what you here we urge you to support by purchasing their music on iTunes! You can also follow the duo on Instagram


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Collaborating with Mixed Chicks- Why we need the “Your Hair Story Series”


Collaborating with Mixed Chicks- Why we need the “Your Hair Story Series” via Swirl Nation Blog

When I first developed the idea for my newest blogging series, I knew I wanted to create something unique, original, and that would speak to ethnic struggles multiracial people could relate to. I have been fortunate to be writing on several platforms over the past few months and exposing myself to a constant hamster wheel of learning about people all over the world experiencing the same issues with identity, beauty, and their place in society. I was especially curious to explore the world of beauty and hair which is an important attribute of many ethnicities in terms of representation and products that are catered to our hair texture/types.

Many of us can attest to growing up without products specifically made for our hair type that forced us to use what was available for the status quo, but not multiracial hair. I had been using Mixed Chicks hair products for a few months now and had been thoroughly impressed with the results it was having on my curls. I realized that my curls were a large extension of me and the style, texture, kink, coil, and waves represented my culture, background, ethnicity, and race. My hair itself has the capability to tell a story. Being that ninety percent of the time it is the first identifier people make with me being biracial, I knew that given the opportunity other people could share their own sentiments on stories regarding their hair.

I took a big gamble and proposed the series to Mixed Chicks who were enthused to help, grow, develop, and support my vision to use beauty as a means of storytelling. The “Your Hair Story Series” celebrates diversity of all types by giving customers the opportunity to share their experiences with a product specifically manufactured for their hair while giving personal testament to how that impacts their daily lives. Through social media and a newly approaching blog launch this week on the MixedChicks.Net site, we are giving people of all ethnicities, backgrounds, age, and gender’s the chance to share their story with us.

I truly believe that by giving voice to the stories behind the hair we are combining beauty and the art of story in an original way that is as educational for the customers as it is for the readers. I have had the opportunity to read beautiful stories regarding texture, personal struggles with loving natural hair, why this product makes a difference in beauty regime, and how their specific hair type is a reflection of their culture. I’m anticipating a great reaction to these amazing, dynamic voices from individuals who are genuinely excited to give insight into their backgrounds and why this company empowers them.

Interested parties can feel free to LIKE, TWEET, or FOLLOW our social media pages for the latest posts/updates and contact my email for questions on how to get involved. I’m looking to showcase anyone who uses the Mixed Chicks brand of beauty products and wants to share their story. What’s the story behind your hair?

Instagram: @yourhairstoryseries

Twitter: @HairStorySeries

Facebook: /yourhairstoryseries

Collaborating with Mixed Chicks- Why we need the “Your Hair Story Series” via Swirl Nation Blog

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Celebrate and acknowledge millions of multiracial Americans and families by making Loving Day a federal observance


Celebrate and acknowledge millions of multiracial Americans and families by making Loving Day a federal observance via Swirl Nation Blog

There are 22 million multiracial Americans (6.9% from Pew Research), comparable to the Asian American population (5.6%), and growing 3 times faster than the U.S. as a whole.

There are 32 million interracial or interethnic married couple households (10% from the U.S. Census). Those numbers have grown 28% over a decade.

Despite those numbers, we have struggled with racial discrimination from all sides. We have been underrepresented in public policy, health care issues, media, and more. We ask the federal government to lead the change by acknowledging us.

We honor Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court decision that ended laws against multiracial families. Please join our community, government leaders, and organizations by celebrating its June 12th anniversary as Loving Day.

Click HERE to sign the petition! 

It takes 2 seconds, just enter your name and email! You must sign before June 30th, 2016! They still need 97k signatures, so share, share, share! 


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PRAYED OUT


I am tired. I hope you are too. I am tried of no action being taken by our senate on gun reform. The time is now people! How many more lives must be lost? My friend Timothy Ware nails it on the head in this jaw dropping, inspiring video. 

Timothy Ware (Book, Music & Lyrics) is currently on Broadway in the Tony Winning Musical KINKY BOOTS as the standby for Lola. He is a native of Montgomery, AL where he received a BA in Theater Arts from Alabama State University, under the direction of TV/Film actress, Dr.Tommie "Tonea" Stewart (In the Heat of the Night). He later studied at UCLA in the MFA Acting Program under Broadway's playwright/director Tony Winner, Mel Shapiro (Two Gentlemen of Verona). Some of his credits as a director includes, Ain't Misbehavin' & Jelly's Last Jam (Kuntu Rep./Pittsburg, PA); Dutchman & SHOUT! (Lelia Barlow Theatre/Montgomery, AL). Associate Choreographer for Godspell, Beehive, Guys & Dolls (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) and Ain't Misbehavin (South Bay Musical Theatre/ San Jose, CA). He worked as a dance instructor and choreographer in Los Angeles, CA at the Amazing Grace Conservatory with founder and TV/Film Star, Wendy Raquel-Robinson (The Steve Harvey Show & The Game). 


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WHY THE "OTHERS" IN ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SEASON 4 MATTERS


WHY THE "OTHERS" IN ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SEASON 4 MATTERS via Swirl Nation Blog

“I represent the ‘Others.’”

So if you haven’t gotten a chance to binge watch Orange is the New Black on Netflix-don’t worry there are no spoilers here. If you are like me, you might have been hesitant or even pessimistic about this new season-because let’s be frank, it’s been a long journey since season one. Season one was explosive and pretty much revolutionized Netflix and the art of binge watching as we have come to know it. Seasons two and three were ‘bleh’ in my opinion, hard to get through and leaving me less enthused for the following summer’s season premiere. However; season four delivered in every possible. Finally, despite the very dark subject matter that the story explores ranging from racism, over-crowding, women’s rights, prisoner’s rights, and power dynamics, I was given a character I was able to connect to on a cultural level of understanding.

Being bi-racial I of course can identify with the differing struggles that both the blacks and Latino’s deal with throughout each season. It wasn’t until episode 12 of this new season when Piper’s roommate ‘Hapakuka’ states she is representing the “Other,” during a meeting headed by the respective leaders of the divided racial groups that I connected to it as a mixed individual. The groups are separated between their leaders reflecting their racial groups: Whites, Dominican’s (representing all Hispanic’s), and Blacks and this character happens to be as they state the “browns who are not brown,” or “the yellow’s.” I thought this was especially poignant given this season explore racial dynamics and conversations that mirror that of prison life which we hadn’t seen before. While Hapakuka’s specific heritage is never given it is alluded to when she refers to her previous prison in Honolulu.

To me, she represents the underrepresented demographics that either aren’t large enough to be key players in Litchfield’s fictional prison world or in fact the “Others,” of blended cultural backgrounds. The “Others,” that cannot check a specific box of racial ethnicity because there is more than one, cannot be easily identified by their genetic make-up, or don’t represent the cultural status-quo. Orange is the New Black will always get numerous praise for its progress in diverse casting and giving women of all backgrounds varying platforms in the prison world they created. Hapakuka was a reflection of a reality that we as multiracial people know all too well, especially when we combat finding our own voice or place amongst racial groups that don’t have blended backgrounds.

 It made me reflect on where biracial/multiracial people fit in clearly established sectors like prison where being a part of a group can be your saving grace. Her character played a small, but significant role in the mounting tensions growing amongst the inmates. I anticipate if they will be able to use her ethnic background to create more conversation on specific racial groups outside of the clear cut cultural backgrounds we are used to seeing as opposed to the “Others.”


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CELEBRATE MULTIRACIAL HERITAGE WEEK JUNE 7-14!


Our friends at Project RACE have put together this great video for Multiracial Heritage Week which kicks off today (June 7th)! The Multiracial population is the fastest growing in America and deserves to be recognized as a group. 

Project RACE advocates for multiracial children, multiracial adults, and their families primarily through multiracial education and community awareness. They do not advocate for racial classifications, but are committed to the appropriate inclusion of multiracial people on any forms that require racial identification. They also support policies that make a positive impact on people of multiracial heritage at local, state, and national levels.

Enjoy their video and please share it in support of their message!


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BOSTON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT CREATES 411 PERSONALIZED DRAWINGS FOR CLASSMATES TO HELP REDUCE RACIAL TENSION


Phillip Sossou is a high school senior at Boston Latin High School, which has had a significant amount of racial tension over the last year. He decided he wanted to celebrate all 411 of his classmates as a special graduation gift so he used his artistic talent to work and created wonderful charcoal portraits of each and every student. Check out the video for more 

According to Buzzfeed Sossou is headed to Bunker Hill Community College this fall and is then hoping to attend the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, after. I hope he continues to find ways to use his art to bring joy and bring together community! 

Here is another video of his work: 


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MIXED UP THE DOCUMENTARY PREVIEW: GROWING UP BIRACIAL IN THE SOUTH


MIXED UP THE DOCUMENTARY PREVIEW: GROWING UP BIRACIAL IN THE SOUTH via Swirl Nation Blog

So I’ve been working on my documentary, Mixed Up, a little bit over a year. The film is centered on parenting someone of a different race. We’ve conducted over 70 interviews with interracial couples and their bi/multiracial children, as well as interracial families brought together by adoption, to ask about their understanding of their racial identity. The majority of my interviews have been in urban locations such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York etc. I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to interview folks in my home state of Louisiana. Here is sneak peak of one of the interviews.

 

Q: How do you identify and why?

A: I identify as black. I think it’s because I grew up in the south, so we’ve always had the one drop rule. Growing up at a very young age my dad explained to be that although my mom was white the world would always see me as a black girl first. The best example I can give you is

“I’ve never been in a room of black people where I felt like I’m the only white person here, but I have been in rooms full of white people were I know I am the only black person there.”
 

Q: What factors influence how people choose to identify?

A: We live in a society where race is learned. So it really depends on the community you come from. I think if you grow up around black people a lot of times you identify with certain cultural things that are happening within that community. But beyond that even when you are in a diverse or white community, if people see you as black than that is what you begin to identify as.

 

Q:  Why would you be reluctant to marrying a white man?

A: My grandmother wants me to be able to identify with and always remember that I’m black because she went through a real struggle and she wants to relate to me. She’s like you’re so beautiful, you’re so smart. She wants to think of me as an extension of her legacy. She was born a sharecropper, she didn’t have a lot of education but she did the best she could. But because I’m getting an education and I’m traveling it’s like everything she did wasn’t in vain, and she wants my kids to relate to her. If at some point I marry white. My kids might feel like they can’t identify with my grandmother. I think that’s my biggest fear.

 

Q: Do you think mixed children are reducing racism?

A: I don’t necessarily think that mixed children are reducing racism. What I think is that the more mixed kids that we have the more people will relate to two different races or three different races. And I read somewhere recently that the reason why the LGBT issue has really taken off and grown exponentially is because everybody knows someone gay. But not every white person has a black person in their family. Well my white family does have a black person in their family, they have three, me and my sisters.



Mixed Up: The Documentary is an interactive investigation into the parental influence of racial identity development in children of interracial families.

Follow us to keep up with our progress FacebookTwitter / Instagram

MIXED UP THE DOCUMENTARY PREVIEW: GROWING UP BIRACIAL IN THE SOUTH via Swirl Nation Blog

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MULTIRACIAL #WCW ROSE BERTRAM


I first saw this photo of Rose Bertram while trying to find a new hair color for myself:

I thought she was beautiful, but filed her photo away to reference for future hair-color and thought nothing more of it.  About two months later, I stumbled upon her Instagram.  OK, so I basically stalked her for the whole day.  I am such a creeper.  I had to know more about this beautiful creature.

From Wikipedia:

Rose and her mom 

Rose and her mom 

Stephanie Rose Bertram, or simply Rose Bertram, is a Belgian model. She was born in Kortrijk, October 26, 1994, to a Belgian father and a Senegalese-Portuguese mother. She has two sisters. Stephanie lives in Paris with her boyfriend, the Dutch footballer, Gregory van der Wiel.

If you don’t want to be jealous, don’t follow her on Instagram.  If you want to see how a really beautiful person with lots of money and a hot, rich boyfriend live, follow her on Instagram.  That all being said, she seems to have her priorities straight and she is having incredible fun.  Enjoy the gallery of this gorgeous woman.

Rose and her boyfriend

Rose and her boyfriend

Rose and her little sisters

Rose and her little sisters


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MULTIRACIAL #MCM JASON MOMOA


Who doesn’t love Jason Momoa? He is one of those universally sexy men. He is half Hawaiian on his father’s side mixed with German, Irish and Native American on his mother’s side. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen any of his movies and I have never watched Game of Thrones, but I can still be a fan can’t I?!

 

Unfortunately for the single ladies of the world Jason is taken by yet another sexy multiracial actor, Lisa Bonet. The pair have two children named Lola Iolani and Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha.


And in a beautiful display of multiracial sexiness here is Jason, Lisa, Lisa’s ex Lenny Kravitz and their daughter Zoe. They should basically be the Swirl Nation Blog spokespeople!  

MULTIRACIAL #MCM JASON MOMOA via Swirl Nation Blog

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complex[ion] woman


complex[ion] woman via Swirl Nation Blog

On June 5th complex[ion] woman, a play written by Ebony Gilbert and Tasha Henderson, premiers in Los Angeles. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to benefit Black Women for Wellness, an organization committed to healing, educating, and supporting Black women.

complex[ion] woman

What does it mean to be 20 something in 2016? What does it mean to be a woman? What does it mean to be a person of color? complex[ion] woman explores the intricacies of the everyday experiences of the contemporary women of color in 2016.

From making decisions such as straightening or curling our natural hair to coping with issues such as depression in the Black community, women of color live lives that are unique in their experience but universal in their issue.

complex[ion] woman is honest, controversial, funny, sad and above all, complex.

If you are in Los Angeles, you can purchase tickets for $10 HERE


 

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