African American | Puerto Rican

Photo by Lewis Crawford

Photo by Lewis Crawford

I was born in Kaiserslautern German and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I am the oldest of 8 siblings.  I started acting around age 15 and began my professional career at 19.  My mum comes from Gary, Indiana and my dad from Jacksonville, Florida they met on a military base in Kaiserslautern Germany. Both were in the US Army.   I Mainly grew up in Atlanta Georgia.

I was around 6 or 7 years old when I noticed a difference in my cultural background, I remember being around a group of kids who were black and they told me I wasn’t black because of my skin wasn’t like theirs.   I mainly grew up around people who were black so that’s who I identify with most. I have friends from various backgrounds but just recently started meeting people culturally similar to myself.  Regarding relationships, I’m not opposed to dating someone with a different cultural background but I’ve never dated outside of either of my races. I’ve actually only dated women who were black.

There is still bias attitudes or stereotypes towards mixed-race people, Of course especially in the black community. People assume that mixed raced individuals think they are better than others. They assume life is easier and opportunities are more plentiful.

The most profound experience I had was going to Puerto Rico for the first time this year. Historically all Puerto Rican’s are of mixed heritage. And when you get to the island you can really see that. Everyone there is Puerto Rican, regardless of complexion. I had so many people come up to me speaking Spanish because they thought i was from there. It was one of the few places I really felt my image was welcomed and embraced.

Does my background mixture have an effect on my relationships with others,, yes I don’t think it’s had a huge impact on my relationship with others. At least not in a way I’ve realized. If I were to be born again I’d like to see what it would be like to just be from one cultural background. To either be fully black or fully Puerto Rican.

Regarding the future for mixed race people, I feel like mixed raced backgrounds will be the societal norm in the future. Prejudice hopefully won’t be as prevalent given the growing numbers of mixed people. With better understand and awareness prejudice seems to die. So as long as we have pages like this going, we’ll be fine.

I am an actor and being an actor and mixed race in USA today to be honest, it’s hard not that being an actor is easy for anyone. But there are so many obstacles with image in this industry. Talent isn’t as important as a look sometimes. I’ve been passed on for a lot of roles because I wasn’t “black enough” or “Hispanic enough”. Which is funny to hear from casting directors who aren’t black or Hispanic. I’ve found a lot of success in commercials where ambiguity is more accepted. But my film and television role have been limited to parts that are usually described as “open ethnicity”. I’ve gotten to a point where I realize I have to create my own content to tell the stories and play the characters I want to play.