Who authenticates “blackness” in 2015? In less than two weeks, I’ve watched Taye Diggs, Zendaya and Alicia Keys take to the press to justify biracial identity in the face of social media trolls (and media outlets) stirring the pot over whether they are “black enough” to stand for black social justice. Earlier this year, Black Lives Matter activist, Shaun King was targeted too.
What gives? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)
Now the backlash is rolling in again over Ebony Magazine’s 70th Anniversary Cover. Still wondering if it’s possible to highlight biracial/black activists promoting black social justice causes without immediate backlash – from whites and blacks. Who gets to decide? Better yet, who is calling it out?
In my recent post, “Mixed Like Us: How to Support Biracial Children and Their Shifting Identities“ – I offer suggestions for supporting biracial identity within children. It should go without saying that the same rules apply for anyone identifying as biracial too. Arguing that biracial individuals are somehow less credible in their support of black social justice causes flies in the face of our history as noteworthy activists combating racial discrimination and segregation right alongside the generations navigating U.S. slavery, Jim Crow, civil rights and black power movements since the beginning.
Listen to Grammy winner Alicia Keys discuss her guest appearance on Fox’s hit show Empire where her character’s biracial identity was challenged after performing the song “Powerful” during the Midseason Finale (with an audience of well over 11 million viewers) on 12/2/15:
‘Biracial’ activists will continue to support black social justice causes even through anticipated blowback from mainstream and social media. This is nothing new. Contrary to popular misconceptions, we love our “blackness” too.
Now that you’ve heard the song’s backstory from Alicia Keys – Listen to “Powerful” (and its amazing lyrics) below:
(This article was also published by The Huffington Post on December 4, 2015)