I can't stop buzzing about the wonderful experience I had last week as a participant on CNN Dialogue's inaugural discussion in Atlanta. I was more than little nervous that I would flub the whole thing up. The panel, which was moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, included fellow panelists Kris Marsh, Yul Kwon, Dana Young and Edward James Olmos. I was there as the author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky-- talking about the Census and the New America. I wish I could give you a whole play-by-play but it all went by in a kind of blur. There were some interesting highlights --like when Wolf joked that I didn't "sound black" and then I didn't sound Danish -- well, until I busted on with some Danish on stage--I never get to do that. I also really enjoyed hearing from the young people in the audience. Two in particular stood out -- a young woman who clearly got her hackles raised when I said kids didn't necessarily know enough history (she obviously did--and she will definitely be a force) and another young woman who lamented that despite having the best education and access possible, she still found colorism to be so confounding. I wish I had an answer for her--all I could say was "Girl, I wish I knew. I straightened my hair this morning!" We came up with zero answers, but it was a spirited dialogue and I was so excited to be a part of the discussion. There's talk that it will be webcast on the CNN website. I'll keep you posted!
I'm excited to be a part of this new series CNN Dialogues on Race moderated with Wolf Blitzer on August 31 at 7PM in Atlanta. Other panelists include actor Edward James Olmos, Survivor winner Yul Kwon, and Professors Kris Marsh, and Dana White. For ticket information visit the university website.
Anyone else noticed that Lexus is running not one, but TWO holiday commercials this year featuring multiracial families? In one commercial you see the three mixed kids and mom and dad. In the other, an interracial couple is featured. I'd seen the ads many times this last week but didn't put it together that they were both Lexus ads until last night.
Thank you Lexus for making multiracial families visible! I just may look into getting a Lexus hybrid when I'm ready for a new car in a couple of years!
Ebony Magazine has just released its Power 100 List in the Dec./Jan issue on newstands now. And guess who's in it? Me! Yup. Crazy, right? Too exciting. An incredible honor. I could go on and on. I make the list as an emerging leader in Arts & Letters which also includes the big writers: Malcolm Gladwell, Edgwidge Danticat, Ntozake Shange. Dude, I'm like crazy happy. Happy. Crazy. Excited. And yes, I am ready to embrace my role as a "Baller and Shot Caller" as the cover headline proclaims! Hee hee! Please pick up a copy--it's the one with my favorite celebrity on the cover: the very lovely Vanessa Williams! This is what the write-up says: “Biracial smarty-pants Durrow hit it big this year with her incandescent debut and award-winning novel The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, a coming of age story about the daughter of a Danish mother and a Black GI who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy.”
I've been without words on this topic. I have nothing new to add--
It's a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the people of Haiti and friends and family. And hopefully, everyone will be able to do what they can to give and help the many people who need help.
A friend wrote this to me as he thought about how to process and respond to the disaster in Haiti:
is only few weeks old but already I've been blessed to witness a flood of good
fortune showering on me and my family and friends, with more to come. But at
the same time we're all dealing with the universal catastrophe in Haiti. Sunday
a friend shared some happy news with me and I blurted out, "This is the
best year ever!" and immediately felt guilty about it. Now I don't say this
to be a killjoy. Like I said I'm trying to reconcile these emotions. My initial
fear was that the poor people of Port-au-Prince had somehow paid for our
happiness with their blood and tears and that was horrifying because we could
not in good conscience enjoy it. But now I look at it another way. I was
recently reading about the ancient goddess Fortune and how her wheel can turn
on anyone at any time. Clearly it's up for us and down for Haiti. At this
moment, we grieve their losses and worry for their future. But I read something
helpful yesterday, that despite our best intentions we do no good by drowning
ourselves in pity and sorrow. For sure we must give money and the best of us
give their bodies and labor to aid those suffering, but after that the best
thing we can give is hope, peace, compassion, and love. I think we are best
able to do that when we have an abundance of the same. So we should receive our
bounty of good fortune--especially the hard-earned and well-deserved kind--give
thanks for it, remember those less fortunate than we, and in so doing we share
the light and increase it. Today we are the reminders that life is worth living
and worth living well. Our example will find its way to where it needs to go."
I tried to give it up. I really tried. The show lost it' heart last season--I didn't like the addition of the new judge and I didn't like how it all ended up -- all the final singers good, but it was clear that the 11-year-old text savy viewers and determined the results.
So, yes, I tried not to watch, but I couldn't stop myself. I am watching it right now. And really, I love it still!
This time around the auditions have this extra twist for me. As the book is about to be released, I feel like I am auditioning too.
I love when the contestants nail that moment. Or they redeem it by just being themselves and speaking truthfully. I hope I can do the same on the road with the book tour -- when I'm talking to booksellers and stuff.
I mean, dude . . . I love seeing that moment on American Idol when the contestant gets the nod to go to Hollywood and you can see they can see all that seemed impossible for their futures before. I can feel their joy--like WOW, maybe I will be living my dream. It's so lovely. And I swear I tear up every time a contestant gets a "golden ticket" to Hollywood. Cheesy, yeah. But, well, I am rooting for them. Live your dreams guys. I like joining you on the journey.