(1)ne Drop + CNN = Black in America 5 “Who is Black in America?” (airs 12/9/12)

On December 9, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. EST/PST, CNN will air its fifth installment of the annual documentary series Black in America. This year’s special – “Who is Black in America?” – was inspired by the scope of the (1)ne Drop Project and will tackle issues of colorism and racial identity.


In the United States of America in 2012, what does Black look like? Who defines Black? And why is there an argument – or disagreement at all – about who counts as Black? Can someone choose to be Black? Isn’t race assigned at birth, just like gender? If race is a choice for some people, why pick Black? Why not?CNN’s Soledad O’Brien examines these important and provocative questions in an hour-long documentary, “Who is Black in America?” She follows two 17-year-olds, Becca Khalil and Nayo Jones, on their journeys to find their racial identities. “I’m from Africa,” says Becca, whose parents were born in Egypt, “but the Black kids don’t seem to really want me, and the White kids don’t seem to really want me.” She says Egyptians are dismissed as Middle Eastern or Arab, but she is neither of those things. Nayo Jones was raised by her White father, and doesn’t really know her Black mom. “I can say that I’m African-American, but I see being Black as being more of a cultural thing,” she says. “I was raised in a White environment, and a mostly White neighborhood.” She insists that makes her less Black. The man guiding Becca and Nayo is Perry “Vision” DiVirgilio, a spoken word poet who calls himself a “Biracial Black man.” He struggled with his own identity issues for years.

Where will Becca and Nayo end up? And why, in 2012, does it really matter? Soledad O’Brien reports Sunday, December 9th at 8pm and 11pm ET. (via CNN)

Also included in the doc are Danielle Ayers, (1)ne Drop contributor, and Kiara Lee, a young woman who conducts workshops on colorism with youth in Richmond, VA. I will be featured in the documentary as an expert of sorts, along with Michaela angela Davis, Dr. William Darity, and Tim Wise, among others.”Who is Black in America?” is an exciting milestone in the development of the (1)ne Drop project. I hope you all will tune in!

4 Replies to “(1)ne Drop + CNN = Black in America 5 “Who is Black in America?” (airs 12/9/12)”

  1. I feel like the show was a bit biased through the eyes of the teacher. Why do Americans feel the need to identify with a race. This girl was very much evolved in her thinking and saw herself as biracial. Why do I feel like they forced her to identify as a black woman?

  2. I didn’t get the sense that Vision was trying to force Nayo to identify as Black, but rather that he was encouraging her to find her voice (through poetry) and claim her identity. I know that wasn’t his intention or aim. As she mentioned after performing the group piece in which she identified as a “Black woman,” she didn’t feel like the experience necessarily changed her view of herself as Biracial, but that it opened the door for her to explore that aspect of her identity. I do know that she continues to identify as Biracial.

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