Mixed Roots Stories goes LIVE at #CMRS 2014

We had a blast at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference in November of 2014.

KT2014 Live performers with MXRS in bgWe were honored to have such a talented, global cast, for the LIVE event.

Here are some of the clips from the LIVE event on the closing night of the conference!

Note: Mature Language in several of the pieces.

Part 1 – Joe Hernandez-Kolski (with guest Dustin)


Part 2– Joe Hernandez-Kolski


Part 3-Tangled Roots (Katy Massey, Zodwa Nyoni, Lladel Bryant, Adam Lowe)


Part 5-Tania Cañas


Part 6– Fred Sasaki

Part 7 – Joe Hernandez- Kolski


CMRS Mixed-Race Irish Film Keynote Links

Following my keynote on mixed representations in contemporary Irish cinema and television at the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, here are some links to the films discussed.


In 1976 Radharc, a TV production company run by the Irish clergy whose work was commissioned by the state broadcaster RTE, produced The Black Irish, a documentary on mixed-race people in Kinsale, Montserrat.

Recut trailer for Irish language TV channel TG4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QHYFXDGf4Y

Full documentary: http://www.rte.ie/archives/exhibitions/1378-radharc/355633-the-black-irish/


In The Commitments (Parker, 1991), the black and mixed-race Irish are an absent presence as the white protagonists reappropriate the elements of African-American culture relevant to their needs, in order to voice their own feelings of oppression and victimhood:



1993 TV series Queen explores the divisions of racialization in America, and the difficulties faced by a young mixed-race Irish-African-American woman, Queen (played by Halle Berry), in the slavery-era South who does not fit into either side of the established black/white binary. The series also featured mixed actress Jasmine Guy as Queen’s mother.



The 1998 melodrama The Nephew (Brady) begins with a baggily dressed, dreadlocked mixed-race man arriving by boat at Inis Dara, a small island off the Irish mainland. Chad Egan-Washington (Hill Harper) is the son of an Irish emigrant who married an African-American. Here’s a clip of his performance of a song in Gaelic, with the refrain Fill a Rúin O [Come back, my love]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjGSsBmZtOY


In rom-zom-com Boy Eats Girl (Bradley, 2005), a budding romance between teenagers Jessica (played by Irish-Zambian popstar/actress/model Samantha Mumba) and Nathan (David Leon) is disturbed by a zombie attack. Nathan fears that Jessica has stopped loving him and so commits suicide. His mother uses voodoo to bring him back from the dead and as he feeds he produces a zombie army. Here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr3uDod2Kd4


Rural realist horror Isolation’s (O’Brien, 2005) protagonists are also a young couple. Mary (Irish-Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga) and Jamie (Sean Harris) run away together after her family reject him – he’s a Traveller (i.e. nomad), another of the marginalised Irish, but of a lower status here than non-whites. In this scene, Mary gets to know the farmer whose land they’re staying on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbsEDVrIyAQ

Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHUdt6abG64


Multicultural Irish Shorts (full film links):

Moore Street Masala (Ireland, O’Sullivan, 2009): http://www.thisisirishfilm.ie/shorts/moore-street-masala

Oscar nominated New Boy (Green, Ireland, 2007): http://www.thisisirishfilm.ie/shorts/new-boy

Racist B&B (O’Brien, 2013): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J80q7Q3UIEM

The Blaxorcist (King, Ireland, 2007): http://www.thisisirishfilm.ie/shorts/the-blaxorcist

Cactus (Molatore, Ireland, 2007): http://vimeo.com/6213753



2013 Irish Films on Mixed Roots

Paula Kehoe’s An Dubh ina Gheal [Assimilation] is a documentary on the Irish-Aborigines of Australia: http://vimeo.com/92388921


Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy’s film Mister John positions the Irishman within an interracial family in Singapore: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cUpuB5s-rw


Donal O Ceilleachair’s documentary Aisling Gheal [Bright Vision] follows the life of Shahira Apraku, a young mixed-race pupil of sean-nós (traditional song), in the Gaelic speaking region of Connemara in the West of Ireland: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orCEyy206iI



Further Irish Films Featuring Mixed and Black Actors Include:

Pigs (Black, 1984), Oscar winning feature The Crying Game (Jordan, 1992), Mona Lisa (Jordan, 1986), When Brendan Met Trudy (Walsh, 2000), Black Day at Black Rock (2001), Breakfast on Pluto (Jordan, 2005), Pavee Lackeen (Ogden, 2005), Irish Jam (Eyres, 2006), Ghostwood (O’Brien, 2006), The Front Line (Gleeson, 2006), Kisses (Daly, 2008), 3 Crosses (Figgis, 2009), Trafficked (O’Connor, 2009), Sensation (Hall, 2010), The Guard (McDonagh, 2011); Between the Canals (O’Connor, 2011), The Good Man (Harrison, 2012), Milo (Boorsma and Boorsma, 2012), Byzantium (Jordan, 2012), What Richard Did (Abrahamson, 2012), Calvary (McDonagh, 2013).

See also RTE  television series: The New Irish: After the Bust (2012), Love/Hate (2010-present, featuring mixed Irish actors Ruth Negga and Aaron Heffernan), Prosperity (2007), Raw (2008-10), Father and Son (2009, featuring mixed actors Reece Noi and Sophie Okonedo), Little Brazil: Gort, Ireland (2006), Love is the Drug (2004, also starring Negga), The Clinic (2003-9), Fair City (1989-present, currently featuring mixed-race Irish actress Donna Anita Nikolaisen). And TG4 2011 documentary on Gaelic-speaking Zimbabwean Irish sean-nós dancer, choreographer, composer, performer Tura Arutura, Steip le Tura.


By Dr Zélie Asava


IMG_4237Dr Zélie Asava is Joint-Programme Director of the BA in Video and Film at Dundalk Institute of Technology, where she teaches courses on film and media theory. She also lectures in UCD Film Studies. Her monograph is entitled

The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Irish Identities

on Film and TV (Peter Lang, 2013). She has published essays in a wide range of journal and essay collections, including: Masculinity and Irish Popular Culture: Tiger’s Tales (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014); Oxford Bibliographies Online: Cinema and Media Studies (Oxford University Press, 2013);Viewpoints:Theoretical Perspectives on Irish Visual Texts (University of Cork Press, 2013);The Universal Vampire (Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013); France’s Colonial Legacies: Memory, Identity and Narrative (University of Wales Press, 2013).


“Mixed Race Representations in Contemporary Irish Cinema”


We were honored to have Dr. Zélie Asava as our Mixed Roots Stories keynote at the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference.

Dr Zélie Asava is Joint-Programme Director of the BA in Video and Film at Dundalk Institute of Technology, where she teaches courses on film and media theory. She also lectures in UCD Film Studies. Her monograph is entitled “The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Irish Identities on Film and TV” (Peter Lang, 2013). She has published essays in a wide range of journal and essay collections, including: Masculinity and Irish Popular Culture: Tiger’s Tales (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014); Oxford Bibliographies Online: Cinema and Media Studies (Oxford University Press, 2013);Viewpoints:Theoretical Perspectives on Irish Visual Texts (University of Cork Press, 2013);The Universal Vampire (Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013); France’s Colonial Legacies: Memory, Identity and Narrative (University of Wales Press, 2013).

You can view her keynote from the conference below:

You can find a follow up guest blog from Dr. Asava with the links to the videos referenced here.

Yuletide Angels – a celebration of many cultures and faiths

UnknownMargaret Bacon Schulze is a freelance writer of Okinawan/Anglo heritage. Her first book of fiction, Yuletide Angels, was published last year by electio Publishing. It’s the story of a mixed race family enjoying the many customs and traditions of the Yuletide season. A celebration of many cultures and faiths!

More on the book:

Dina is searching for a special angel to top her Christmas tree, one that looks like her Japanese, Irish, German, and Mexican sons. Her husband Julio struggles with his disdain of holiday hype.

Would you like to order this book? Here’s a link for more info: http://electiopublishing.com/index.php/bookstore#!/~/product/id=31016183

“I Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know: A Southern White Woman’s Story About Race”

IMAG00271-150x150Thanks so much to Kaypri for letting us know about her mother’s book “I Didn’t Know What I Didn’t Know: A Southern White Woman’s Story About Race.” You can learn more about this moving and important story here: www.dorothystory.com – why not make it a holiday gift for a mother or grandmother on YOUR list!?

Here’s the description Kaypri sent us:
Dorothy Hampton Marcus is a Civil Rights Activist, truly ahead of her time. She jumped into Race Relations before it had a name, (in the fifties), and was one of very few Whites to do so. A Winston-Salem, North Carolina native, she grew up in the Jim Crow Era, not fully knowing what that really meant. In her undergrad years at Meredith College in Raleigh she had her first one-on-one inter-racial experience which this progressive all-womens school arranged. This event changed her life and by the time she graduated, she’d found a new passion. Determined to enlighten others with what she had begun to know, she found answers in the most unexpected places witnessing history along the way. For the next two decades she worked in a succession of “Human Relations” jobs throughout the U.S. putting off marriage and motherhood to do so. Even after marrying “late” at age 40, she never gave up on improving civil rights for all people. She was determined to share what she now knew well past her retirement when she started writing this story. She dedicated herself to finishing the book right up until the onset of dementia made it impossible for her to write another sentence. It was at that point that I realized it was up to me to pick up the baton which I started by completing the first draft of her book for her 80th birthday in 2012. It took me nearly two more years to flesh it out and publish it, adding my Daughter’s Notes along the way. I am truly proud to share my mother’s story with the world!

A Problem with Christmas

Christmas carols drifted into the living room of the small apartment from the tablet plugged into speakers in the kitchen while Mom prepared dinner. It clashed only slightly with “A Christmas Story” running on TV where two young girls lay flopped about like lazily thrown blankets. It was already dark outside the living room window but it was fought against by the soft glow of a single string of lights hastily hung about the small windows.

Dad was late getting home but the children were already used to that by now. The big adjustments came months earlier when they moved to Southern California so Dad could work on films. Somehow it made things feel more “normal” in the family now that Dad went out to work and Mom could work from home. Dad never seemed happy around their old home in Minnesota which made no sense to the children. Why did they trade their big house with a yard for this little place and so many cars? Still, it was always a celebration when Dad came home. The door handle rattled as someone fumbled with the lock.

“Ho! Ho! Ho!” came a voice booming down the hall.

“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” cried the children as they jumped up to meet him.

They ran into the hall but were not ready for what faced them. Instead of their father they faced a floor to ceiling pine tree waddling down the hall. They quickly got out of its way.

“What is this?” cried Mom half in shock and half laughing.

“Haven’t you seen a Christmas tree before?” said Dad’s voice, his face still not yet visible from behind the foliage.

Soon enough the tree popped through the hallway passage into the living room and the children could finally embrace Dad and his wife give him a quick kiss hello. He leaned the tree up against the window next to the TV then stepped back to admire his work.

“Where’d you get it Dad?” said the eldest child.

“The lot around the corner.”

“You carried this a whole block?” asked Mom.

“Why not? It’s Christmas Eve. We don’t have to give up all our traditions since moving out here,” replied Dad.

His wife smiled and shook her head knowingly like she had done a hundred times before. She turned back to the kitchen then said over her shoulder, “Well, dinner’s ready. Let’s eat!”

After dinner the Dad and Mom sat at the dining room/kitchen table. Dad was leaning back on his chair, one arm hanging over the back of the chair, the other resting on the table holding the base of his glass. The eldest daughter ran in wearing her pajamas.


“Yes, baby.”

“Will it snow tonight?”

“Not likely. It almost never snows in Southern California and certainly not here.”

“Oh,” she said casting her eyes down. “I miss our home.”

“This is our home, remember?” he replied.

“I know, but I don’t even know how we’re going to celebrate Christmas anymore.”

“We’ll celebrate it as a family like we always do. Now go brush your teeth,” he said while turning her around an giving her a gentle push.

The children could be heard jostling with each other in the bathroom as they fought over the sink to brush their teeth. The Mom listened to them, laughing to herself, as she cradled her wine glass. She looked across the empty bottle standing on the table between her and her husband.   His eyes were fixed on a pile of parcels on the floor next to the tree still leaning against the window, Christmas presents received over the past week from their mid-west family.

“What are you thinking about?” asked Mom.

“Oh, just wondering what we would be doing if we were back in Minnesota right now,” he answered her without moving or taking his eyes off the packages.

“You know what we would be doing. In the even numbered years, we would be at your aunt’s house, with everyone else in your family. In fact, judging by the time, they probably tore into their presents hours ago and are probably figuring out who is the least drunk to drive home. Same thing they do…we did, when we were there,” she replied.

Dad chuckled slightly at the drunk driving remark.

Without taking his eyes off the presents he replied, “And in the odd years, no pun intended, we would see your family on Christmas day after church services and open all their presents. Then break open the wine and then have to figure out how to get home.”

Mom nodded to herself then said to him pointedly, “So what’s bugging you?”

Dad suddenly snapped to and turned to his wife.

“Nothing’s bugging me. I was just thinking about how the longer we stay here the further our kids will be from the family traditions we grew up with,” he said.

“You know we can’t afford to fly home right now.”

“I know and I can’t take the time off work, yet. But still, I can’t help but feel like we’re missing something. Christmas just feels smaller now somehow.”

“Smaller?” she asked.

“Yeah, well, you know. Sometime tomorrow we’ll open presents, and that’ll be it.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad to me.”

“Yeah, but there will be fewer people. Less time spent. And besides, my family always opens presents on Christmas Eve.”

“Ok, but my family always waited until Christmas Day.”

“Santa comes on Christmas Day.”

Again the eye rolls came from the Mom. They sat in silence for a while. Mom looked up to see Dad staring through the table then she looked over at the parcels on the floor.

“Well, why don’t we open all the presents we got from your family tonight?”


“You said your family always opened presents on Christmas Eve. Well, we’ll do your family’s presents tonight and tomorrow we’ll do mine.”

Dad scratched his head for a moment, cocking it to one side, then back again to look at his wife. A smile grew on his face starting from one corner of his mouth then moving to the other.

“Oh yeah. Why didn’t I think of that?”

His wife rolled her eyes.

“Call the kids.”

“Hey kids!” Dad shouted.

The children ran out in their pajamas.

“What Dad?” they asked slightly asynchronous with the eldest leading as usual.

Holding them close, Dad looked them with large eyes, “How would you two like to…open some presents?!”

Screaming and hopping around ensued causing Mom and Dad to wince from the shrill noise.

“Which ones?” they yelled.

“Go find the packages from my family sitting next to the tree and we’ll open those tonight,” he said.

“Not until we’ve cleaned off the table!” yelled Mom.

But it was too late. The children were already off going through the boxes. Dad completely ignored her, too, bending over the kids and setting aside packages. Again Mom smiled to herself and shook her head. She grabbed a few plates from the table and turned to the sink such that she couldn’t see the kids and Dad anymore although she could still hear their voices through the kitchen doorway.

“And when will we open the other presents?” asked the eldest astutely.

“Well, we’ll open them tomorrow of course, just like we’ve always done,” replied Dad.

“Ah, it’s like we’re going to have two Christmases instead of one! Thanks Dad!”

At that last remark Mom looked indignantly.

“Thank your Mom,” said Dad quickly, “now let’s get this tree set-up first.”

By Holiday Guest Blogger Thomas Lopez
President / Latinas and Latinos of Mixed Ancestry (LOMA) Founder and Director

Thomas Lopez

Thomas Lopez has been a member of MASC for over fifteen years and is a past president of the organization.  He has made numerous television, print, and on-line media appearances and speaking engagements as a keynote and panelist.  As a long-time board member he has also organized conferences, a mini-film festival, and diversity training workshops.  Apart from MASC, Thomas is a mechanical engineer having worked in multiple industries the most recent being medical devices.  He was born and raised in Southern California with parents from Mexican American and German-Polish roots.


Book: Contrast: A Biracial Man’s Journey To Desegregate His Past

Devin C. Hughes recently filled in our ‘Promote Your Story‘ link to tell us about his book Contrast: A Biracial Man’s Journey To Desegregate His Past

From Amazon.com:

In 1967, the Supreme Court legalized interracial marriage in America. Devin Hughes was born two years later to a black father and white mother who fled to Washington DC to escape the racism of the Deep South. Bigotry still ran rampant up North, and light-skinned, greeneyed Devin felt its pull from both ends: strangers who didn’t know he was half-black and friends who didn’t care he was half-white. In racial limbo, Devin found himself more consumed with his dysfunctional family life—a father who offered an alternative “street” education and a mother whose drug use zombified her for most of his childhood. Despite his parents’ flaws, they were Devin’s greatest believers. From his dad founding a neighborhood baseball team to his mom advocating for him in school, they taught Devin that anything imaginable was within reach, that their mistakes needn’t be his choices, and that his destiny was for greatness. Ultimately, Contrast: A Biracial Man’s Journey to Desegregate His Past isn’t a book about race; it’s a book about acceptance, perseverance, and love.

Purchase the book from Amazon by clicking here: Contrast: A Biracial Man’s Journey to Desegregate His Past

Follow Devin C. Hughes on Twitter: @devinchughes
And support his work with a ‘like’ on his facebook page: facebook.com/ChiefInspirationOfficer

Mixed Roots Stories Highlight Vlogs from #CMRS2014

At the 2014 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference we documented a few of the Mixed Roots Stories highlights from each day by including them in a vlog every night. You can view the highlights of #CMRS2014 in all 4 vlogs below!


MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 1 – The Night Before

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 2 – Day 1

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 3- Day 2

MXRS CMRS 2014 Vlog 4 – Day 3

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for more highlight vlogs from the festival and other Mixed Roots Stories events coming soon! And sign up for our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming events http://mixedrootsstories.com/get-involved/.

We look forward to seeing everyone at #CMRS2016 in Southern California!

Seeking Holiday Guest Bloggers

How do you mix your holiday traditions?

We’re looking for guest bloggers for the last couple months of 2014 who will share their holiday traditions. Holiday traditions often represent our cultural and familial roots that have been passed down through the years.

We want to hear from you! How have you and your family mixed those traditions to celebrate the holidays?

Email us at info@mixedrootsstories.org if you’re interested in sharing your mixed holiday story!