50 Years of Loving Guest Blog – Nadine Tomlinson

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@Rebirthoflisa Presents

The Color of Love in a Black-and-White World

by Nadine Tomlinson

Sarah Connor bemoans racial discrimination in her song, “Love is Color Blind”. Like her, other artists, storytellers, and creatives have been challenging the status quo through their art, especially on the subject of interracial relationships. More and more films and shows are featuring couples from different races and ethnicities. In the premiere of “Still Star-Crossed”, an imaginative sequel that follows the aftermath of Romeo’s and Juliet’s suicides, Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers have fashioned a world in which interracial love is the norm. I wonder, though, what The Bard would say if he could see a black Romeo kissing a white Juliet.

While it is heartening to watch “swirl love” thriving on the screen, real life often resembles the closed-minded, black-and-white world of “Pleasantville”. Some, if not most, interracial couples still experience disapproval and outright racism. For those who are newly dating someone outside of their race, it can be a daunting experience. Perhaps you want to introduce your significant other to your family and friends but you are dreading their reaction. Before making any announcements or introductions, a first step would be to arm yourself with certain knowledge before preparing your loved ones, especially if you expect opposition. You can gain some insight from a famous film that explores this controversial topic.

Guess whoThe 1967 American film, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”, creates an opening for dialogue on the topic of interracial relationships. Six months prior to its release, interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 states, mostly the Southern ones. Through the characters, both black and white, who expressed disapproval of the relationship, the film exposes the prejudices of that era. Fifty years later, even after the legalization of interracial marriage, those biases still prevail, especially among certain races and ethnicities that maintain rigid traditions.In the movie, the interracial couple faces these biases, which can either make or break their relationship.Use their experience as a guide on mistakes to avoid and ways to ease your family and friends into accepting your new “swirl love”.

THE DRAYTONS AND PRENTICES

Joanna Drayton and John Prentice, the interracial couple in the film, both make a mistake that anyone in such a relationship should avoid. Joanna assumes that her parents will approve of her choice because they are proponents of racial equality, so she does not inform them beforehand that she has a black fiancé. Despite their freethinking ways, her parents, especially her father, are unsettled by her choice and the engagement. Later, after John’s parents arrive at the Drayton’s home for the dinner party, he reveals that he has not informed them of his plans to wed a white woman. Needless to say, one can imagine the confusion that ensued.

Avoid dropping such bombshells about your relationship on your parents, as Joanna and John did. Inform them from the outset that you are in an interracial relationship if you know that they have die-hard views against such unions. Prepare for opposition. Stand your ground, but speak from a position of love and respect. Impress on them how much you want them to meet and accept your significant other. If they refuse, give them time and perhaps, some space, to come to grips with your decision before broaching the subject again.

In the film, the mothers were more sympathetic than the fathers. Mothers are loathe to sever the close ties they have with their children and tend to be supportive, even if it means standing against their husbands. You will need every ally in your corner and your mom is your first. If your initial attempt went south, ask her for help when you are ready to make another go at it. Consider using a lunch or dinner party as a unifying force. The latter forms the backdrop in the film, for good reason. Food is a common element in any culture. It has a bonding influence. Use the occasion to highlight similarities in your family’s culture and that of your significant other. “Breaking bread” together may just break the ice.

TILLIE AND HILARY

Both Tillie, the Drayton’s black maid, and Hilary, Mrs. Drayton’s white employee, express their strong disapproval of the interracial relationship. Tillie thinks that John Prentice, played by Sidney Poitier, is trying to elevate his status by marrying a white woman. Never mind that he is a doctor. She is outraged.

Her reaction reminds me of a similar perspective in Jamaican society. While we are a predominantly black nation, our ethnic makeup consists of other races that immigrated to Jamaica decades ago, hence, our motto, “Out of Many, One People”. Yet, there was a time when a black woman would get side-eyed, disapproving looks if she was in the company of a white man, especially if it was obvious that they were more than friends. The collective assumption, like Tillie’s, was that a black woman in an interracial relationship was being an opportunist. From my own experience in a past interracial relationship, I did not experience such negativity. However, I did feel uncomfortable when onlookers stared at us. Even with our inclusive motto, colorism is a problematic issue in Jamaica. On the upside, liberal Jamaicans of all ages have embraced interracial love.

Tillie and Hilary represent the opposing voice of public opinion on interracial marriage.The “Tillies” and “Hilarys” in your life will appear in the forms of your extended family members, friends, and acquaintances. If, like Hilary, they resolutely oppose your relationship because of their biases and you find their racism offensive, then you may need to “fire” them, as Mrs. Drayton did with Hilary. Surround yourself with those who truly love and support you, above beliefs and traditions.

MONSIGNOR MIKE RYAN

The Catholic priest is the only character who is thrilled when he learns of the couple’s nuptials. However, he declines to give his blessing on the union because he fears that Joanna and John are opening themselves up to a lifetime of constant racism.

If you and your significant other are religious, your spiritual leader will be a key figure in your relationship, especially if you plan on tying the knot in the future. Be open to their advice, especially if your family maintains strict traditions. Your spiritual leader may be one of the few positive voices on the controversial topic and can act as a mediator, if necessary. He or she can also help to steer you through any storms that may assail your relationship.

            In the end, the film wraps things up nicely with a satisfying ending in which everyone accepts the couple’s relationship and their plans to wed. Mr. Drayton concludes that the only thing that matters is that Joanna and John love each other. Even Mrs. Prentice, in an earlier conversation with Mr. Drayton, says that love is greater than any racial issue.

            Perhaps your family members and loved ones will arrive at this same conclusion. Maybe that will not be the case. Whatever the outcome, do not let anyone deter you from experiencing all that love has to offer. Love is color blind. Your relationship may become a great love story that shows everyone viewing it that love trumps hate every time.

HEA

Nadine T

©Nadine Tomlinson used with permission

Nadine Tomlinson is a Jamaican writer. Storytelling has been her passion and a creative outlet since childhood. She is a JCDC Creative Writing Awardee. Her short story collection, “The Guardians”, was published in the JCDC Gold Anthology. She is working on her first novel. You can connect with her on her website, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.

 

 

 

I loved that analogy and the movie too. Thanks Nadine! Come back at 2:00 as Mike Lackey joins us.

50 Days of Loving Guest Blog Intro

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@Rebirthoflisa Presents

Hi Lovies,

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision on Loving vs Virginia which allowed Mildred and Richard Loving to live in the state of Virginia as man and wife.

This ruling has impacted mine and countless other’s lives and I am excited to bring you the guest posts today! I reached out to a wide variety of people to participate in this series. My intention was to have blogs from both sides of the issue, however I was unable to procure anyone who was willing to go on record as being against interracial relationships. Several of my invitations went unanswered so I have a feeling some of those people were not feeling it. Some people got busy and were unable to send in their article. I totally get that because life happens and you can’t escape it.

Regardless of who did not participate, I received a nice response and the bloggers are on point ya’ll. I can’t wait for you to read them!  I want all of the writers who were kind enough to indulge me to know how very much I appreciate them. You didn’t have to do this, but you did! Your kindness will not be forgotten. Below is a schedule of the guest bloggers in order of appearance. Of course I had to participate as well, so I am on there too. I just couldn’t be silent on this subject. The fun starts at 10 AM. Enjoy!

IR Guest Blog Schedule

 

 

 

Melanade – Grace Jones

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Welcome to another edition of Melanade, where we feature women of color who are doing great things! This month we are featuring the incomparable Grace Jones!

Grace-JonesSexy! Shocking! Beautiful! Dangerous! Icon Grace Beverly Jones is all of those things and more. She ruled the 80s and is still going strong today. Whether she is tearing up the runway, smoking up the silver screen, rocking the concert stage or gracing us with her loud and proud personality on the tube, Grace is undeniably everything!

 

A visionary before her time, Grace is still influencing artist all over the globe in 2017. Check the receipts. Rihanna, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more have her to thank for creating the bar and setting it so high they have something to reach for. Once heard in an interview with Joan Rivers saying she dated twins, she helped break stereotypes that women are not sexual beings.

She unapologetically proved women are not only sexual, but not afraid to ask for grace n dolphwhat we want. She broke barriers in interracial dating, being from Jamaican descent and dating Swedish twins. Her four year relationship with actor Dolph Lungren was buzzing all over the world. She was also the talk of the town when she starred opposite The Roger Moore in “View to a Kill” as bond girl “Mayday”. And yes, there was a sex scene!

 

Her career spanned decades proving that she had staying power. My generation remembers her fondly from her role in Eddie Murphy’s cult classic “Boomerang” where she played diva/supermodel Strangé! IMHO that was the defining role to launch her into the stratosphere as the superstar she is in the acting world.

Jones is also known for her music around the world. Her rendition of “Pull up To the Bumper” is still played in heavy rotation. I have never had the pleasure, but I hear her concerts were off the rails!

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Grace was never known as the classic beauty according to European standards, but she is edgy and gorgeous just the same. She is a photographer’s dream with the angles of her cheekbones and her squared jaw line. Beauty is not all she possesses. Grace speaks five languages and is an author. Her book “I’ll Never Write My Memoirs” was released in 2015.

She has broken barriers in the entertainment industry, while doing things her way. She never let anyone tell her what she couldn’t do and she thrived in controversy.

When it comes to Grace Jones…

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Melanade – Beah Richards

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Melanade is a place for women of color, who are doing great things in the world, to be honored. I am quite aware that Beah Richards is deceased, however, I feel her voice and bodies of work are still making a great impact in this world.

 

beahrBeah Richards(1920 – 2000) was a poet, playwright and author, but she was best known as an actress of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” fame, where she earned an Academy Award nomination.She was a at home on the stage, staring in James Baldwin’s “Amen Corner”.  She was also a staple on television throughout her career. In 1988 she received her first Emmy for her performance in ‘Frank’s Place’ and again in 2000 she was honored with the Emmy just days before her death for her role in ‘The Practice’.

She was a strong activist who fought for equality for blacks in America. She did not hold her tongue and was willing to die for her beliefs. In 2004, Lisa Gay Hamilton accepted The Peabody Award for Beah:A Black Woman Speaks, a biographical film about Beah’s life.

Friday Happy Dance – ZAYN

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For this week’s dance, I have chosen a slow groove in honor of Valentine’s Day. Yes, I know it was Tuesday, but can a girl have a love hangover? This song is on the 50Shades Darker Soundtrack with Taylor Swift, but I like the acoustic version better with only ZAYN. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”

Did you know?

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Hi Lovies,

Imagine my delight when I discovered a gem while browsing Netflix this week. I am used to finding independent films that intrigue me, but when I stumbled upon ‘My Last Day Without You’ I was over the moon. 

I only gave it a chance because it starred actress Nicole Beharie of ‘Sleepy Hollow’ fame. She is one of my faves and I have to watch whatever she is in. Color me surprised when I discovered she not only played a singer in the movie, but actually sang 5 songs! 


Did you know this chick had pipes?  Don’t feel bad because neither did I. Let me just say if she ever wanted a singing career, record companies should be knocking down her door. 

Don’t believe me just watch the movie. If you don’t have Netflix it is also on YouTube and the soundtrack is on iTunes.

Check out the trailer for this award winning movie:

31 Day Movie Challenge – Day 31

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Today is the final day of my 31 Day Movie Challenge! I had a ton of fun with this challenge and I hope you did too. Today’s prompt is:

‘Crazy For Swazye or Nah?’

 
 If you know anything about my love for movies you should know I am on the affirmative! Patrick Swazye was the man. He starred in some great cult classics and made women across the globe fall in love. Swazye played some of the coolest characters on film: Johnny Castle, Bodhi, Sam Wheat, and Dalton to name a few. He also had a pretty good singing voice.

He was a warrior to the end and is sorely missed. 
  
So Lovies are you a fan? Are you Crazy for Swayze or Nah? Let me know in the comments and remember…