Tribute to Prince

One Drop of Love pays tribute to the one and only Prince with: June Snow (& Billy), G. Reginald Daniel, Paul Spickard, Nancy Fathi, Michael Prewitt, Alex Regalado, Chandra Crudup and Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni


Billy? How do you feel about Prince?

It’s always sad when such a talented person passes away at such a young age. I feel like when we lose an artist of my time, part of my youth is also gone with him and it just makes me sad.

Prince knew how to live. Prince understood his God given talents and he used those to better the world.

His whole life has been about challenging categories and I think he’s really undecipherable in a lot of ways because he’s a lot of different things

He’s an everything bender. He bends race, gender, expectations of putting this opinion with that opinion.

His music is a blend of all these antithetical music styles: pop, rock, funk, black funk and white rock – who would do that?

He understood his own intersectionalities. Which – I don’t think we understand – We understand that people have intersectionalities, but it’s harder for us to understand our own intersectionalities.

I want to be your brother and your sister too. I think I realized early on that he was messing around with this gender ‘thing.’ I did not conform to what I was told I should’ve conformed to, gender-wise, like – I played football. I just remember feeling, “Yeah, f** that. Look at him! And we all respect him. Why can’t we just…” it’s along the race lines too.

I will define what race means for me. I will define what being an artist means for me.  And he wasn’t afraid of that and he allowed himself to be Prince.

The world has lost a lot but I think right now he’s bending life and death. Everybody is talking about him in the present tense, even though he died.

My father, he grew up listening to Prince a lot, so therefore I had a little relationship too. It’s just shocking to see that he died.

He was so known over such a long period of time and by so many people, that that’s going to be a loss that’s going to be really hard to come to terms with. And it was so unexpected on top of it.

Yeah, I heard on the radio about Prince and my heart just sank. And I had this emotion and I was kind of in shock, like “What?” I don’t even know any Prince songs. But I know who he is and I know how important he is to people. And it just really made me really feel it.

Purple Rain came out, and I was like, “What? This little guy” (laughs and gestures). We always did the dance “I knew a girl named Nikki I guess you can say she was a sex fiend…” (laughter)

I connect Prince with first love. That’s what it is and it’s like, “Oh my God.”

Prince was a big influence on music and in general. He had his own style. He changed up the game and brought a lot of people to do what he does.

“I would die for you.” It’s been a while.

“I would die for you.” Ah! I did it (laughter)

“I would die for you.” (laughter)

It’s weird, I was thinking I would say, “Do you have any idea how much you influenced people?” And the best thing about him is, YES HE DOES KNOW THAT! I think he was fully aware of his influence on people and had this amazing confidence that was why he could say and do everything he said and did.

Thank you for the talent. For sharing your soul.
Thanks for the music. Thanks for the memories. You’ve given so much to the industry. To Black Artists. To women. Gosh, I’d hug him. (laughter) And wouldn’t let him go.

This Week as an Artivist 4/2/16: Frida Kahlo, SLC Utah, 50 Push-Up Challenge

Frida Kahlo is my muse (0:00-1:26) (2:31-3:00)
NY Times review of 1992 Frida Kahlo documentary:
University of Utah College of Social Work, Rose Wagner Center for the Performing Arts in Salt Lake City, Utah (1:24-3:15)
Museum of Tolerance 3/31/16 (3:17-4:48)
Venmo App = racist? (4:48-5:54)
50 Push-up challenge (5:55-6:17)
What are YOUR goals? (6:20-7:09)

Twitter: @fanshen @onedropoflove
Instagram: @onedropoflove

So, do you know who Frida Kahlo is? I saw a documentary of Frida Kahlo when I was teaching Spanish to students in the 90s. I was teaching in a high school and my Supervising Teacher recommended that I show my students a documentary about Frida Kahlo, and I had known about her a little bit, I had probably seen her art but I didn’t know a whole lot about her life and I watched this documentary – I mean talking about the original Artivist – I mean not THE original because there have been other Artivists in the world and before her, but in so many ways her work and who she was as a person represents so much of what I want to be. Her work is both deeply personal, but also it talks about the power that women have when we share all of who we are, even when that feels very personal and you start to realize that you have connections to other people by sharing it and I love her. And this summer I was in Mexico and I found this bag, and I was like, “Yes. This is my bag.” And she just inspires me so whenever I travel to do the show I take this bag with me.

So I took this bag with me to our show at the University of Utah, which we did on Tuesday. And we had an incredible time. So the show was the closing act of the 10th anniversary of the University of Utah’s College of Social Work Social Justice series. This is put on by this incredible woman teacher, Educator, powerful woman there named Irene Ota. She invited Chandra and me to see her class and she’s doing a class social justice advocacy for social workers, and they’re creating toolkits for social justice advocacy and all of their projects were incredible. One woman is doing a support group for Transracially Adopted kids in Salt Lake City. Another woman is creating a website for parents to know their rights, the educational rights for themselves and for their children. They were just so great and amazing and inspiring! It was wonderful.

And then the best part is that then Irene took us out to dinner – we had dinner with some of the students and faculty before the show – the night before the show. And we’re walking up to dinner and Chandra goes, “Oh! Fanshen! Look at the name of this restaurant we’re going to!” and the name of the restaurant is ‘Frida Bistro’ and I got this gorgeous t-shirt from Irene – thank you Irene! That is at Frida Bistro in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was just a wonderful restaurant, the food was great and we were sitting there blessed by Frida herself.

I got to speak with quite a few people after the show and they were really moved and had lots of follow up questions, and I’m so proud that we were able to do the show there. So if any of you are watching from the University of Utah – thank you for having us – it was really inspiring.

OK this morning I did the show at the Museum of Tolerance here in Los Angeles. And it was so nice to go from – you know that I had big audiences, 1500 students a week ago and then Utah a really big stage, and then here it seats about 115 people or so, but generally these are smaller groups so probably about 35 or 40 people and I’m really up close to them and it makes a difference – it’s a very different feeling of the staging, but it’s really nice because it’s intimate and I can literally look right into people’s faces and interact with them directly. So it’s always nice to be back at the Museum, and also one woman who came today has seen the show there before, and she said, “You know I saw some new things here today,” so that was great – so she’s noticing that I’m making changes.

Now also by the way we have two new slides. So I talked a little bit about pacing last week, and how I’m looking at places to pick up the pacing, but I also realized that there’s a slide that can help situate the audience a little bit more when my father and I are both traveling I’m paralleling our trips to Africa together, so I’ve included a slide of when my father went to the Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Now interestingly, I’m using Venmo – Venmo is an app that you can use to pay people quickly. I asked my graphic designer Heather Fipps (who’s amazing – thank you Heather!) – I asked her to create a new slide and when I paid her on Venmo you write a little note like a memo on a check and I wrote “ODOL (One Drop of Love) Slide Sudan Ethiopia.” Well they put a flag on the payment and I just got an email from Venmo telling me they had to investigate my payment and they needed to know exactly what this payment was for, since I had used the words ‘Sudan’ and ‘Ethiopia.’ Interesting. Racist? I don’t what to say. All I can think of is, “My God, if you are Sudanese or Ethiopian, what life must be like for you now. And I am sorry for people who prejudge you – not that I have to apologize for what they do, but I’m sorry for what you have to go through.

OK this week I’m going to do a physical goal. A friend of mine posted on Facebook a 50 Push-up Challenge and so it takes you through – you start out with 5 push-ups then you move on to 10 and you get rest breaks and then you move on to 12, and then you keep moving on and you do 50 push-ups eventually! So that’s my goal.

How about you? What are your goals? Are you writing? Are you performing? Are you workshopping your work? Are you sharing your work with other people? Are you sharing your story? Someone said today, after the Museum show, “Y’know, your story is incredible,” and I said I didn’t know that until I started sharing it with people. YOUR story is incredible too. You just gotta get it out there – and find out about your parents’ stories, and their parents’ stories and it’s so important to hear someone else’s narrative, so that we are not stuck in what we believe they are just based on what we see on the outside. OK. Thank you for watching #ThisWeekasanArtivist. I hope you have a wonderful week, and I’ll talk to you next week. Bye bye!

This Week as an Artivist 3/26/16: 1500 Students, Zootopia, Suzan-Lori Parks


Artivists! What’s up you all? How you doing? OK. So much to tell you.

(0:05-2:04) First of all One Drop of Love – so many great things. First of all Chandra booked us in Tempe, Arizona at Marcos de Niza High School. We did two shows back-to-back with high school students. 1500 students. So about 750-800 each. Juniors and Seniors first, and then Freshman and Sophomores. It was just fantastic. I got a t-shirt! Oh my goodness my t-shirt collection is growing. And I got a coffee mug!

I’m leaving for Utah Monday morning because we are doing the show for the University of Utah School of Social Work and this is their Voices of Diversity Social Justice Series and it’s their 10th anniversary and One Drop of Love is the closing act for that. So I’m very excited. That’ll be this Tuesday night 6PM in Utah. And then the first week of April I’m doing the Museum of Tolerance and then Philly. Philadelphia. Abington Friends School and that’s going to be for their ‘Many Voices’ diversity series and that’s going to be for parents at the school. And then at the end of April, I am the Keynote for the Mixed Heritage Conference at UCLA! So my goodness SO much going on for One Drop and it’s all incredible and exciting. Chandra noticed that the show is running a little bit over. Usually it’s an hour and it’s been running about an hour and 7, an hour and 8 minutes. So I want to look at what’s happening. Is it pacing? Does it have to do with the number…of course when there are more people it takes longer because I’m going out and I’m interacting with the audience. That’s something that we’re looking at – whether the pacing needs to change, or whether it’s ok – because when we perform for a school we have to keep that in mind because students have to go to another class or at least they have to know how long it’s going to take ahead of time.

(2:04-3:29) OK I have some recommendations for you. First of all have you seen Zootopia? I want to know what you think of it. I mean, I…the first time I saw it I read a friend’s Facebook post who I really respect and admire, and she was like, “Zootopia is all about racial profiling.” And I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa – WHAT, WHAT? Really? For real?” So I went and saw it by myself and I cried because I loved it so much. I thought it did a really great job of bringing up questions around gender and race, class in ways that young people can understand and adults…they were very, very clear and accessible, but also using some challenging themes to get their point across and I just thought it was really well done. But then I texted with my brother and he was like, “Well I don’t know – were the predators only supposed to be the Black people?” and I don’t think so because, remember in the beginning there’s that fox who was the bully and he was…he had a southern accent that sounded White southern and again – here I go with my stereotypes – but anyway I’m really curious what you thought. Especially if you have children – how did you feel about this movie? Tish Arana – what did you think? I’m dying to know. Is Zoey Fanshen – would this be a good movie for her to go see? I’m really curious.

(3:29-3:48) Another recommendation is Mashable did an article: 9 Youtube channels that will make you smarter about social justice. So first of all you KNOW – first of all I was following – I was already subscribed to ¾ of them, but there were some that I didn’t know about, so I went ahead and subscribed, so I’m putting a link. Check those out.

(3:48-4:26) OK another thing: check out Suzan-Lori Parks. She’s a great playwright and she’s doing this series called ‘Watch me work’ which is that she goes into a space and works – writes a play – and you have the opportunity to watch her work and write a play and watch her process and interact with her and ask her questions…and it’s just…SO great to allow people to be there and watch and learn from what she’s doing. It’s so encouraging. So I’m putting a link to the videos of her doing ‘Watch me work.’

(4:26-5:54) Alright I want to shout out some folks that are watching the videos, so Carol Banker – what’s up girl!? Alex Regalado – she’s our Editor for One Drop of Love, I think I’ve told you about her before. She’s got this great video, there’s a link for that. Also she did it with her team from the website called TWIGG How-To, which you should also check out, and there’s a link to that. Go, go, GO Alex – I’m so proud of you! DO it and I’m voting everyday and getting other people to vote, so let’s get you to win this and just keep making more amazing content, like you are.

OK last thing – I freaked out this morning because…one of my first…like and early This Week as an Artivist video I talk about LaGuardia Cross, who is a famous Youtuber and does these great videos with his toddler. And he started off with this great statement about success and a specific goal that he had – that was how he started vlogging – this goal that he had and he was going to reach the goal and he was saying it out to the world – so that he could be held accountable and I talked about him in that video – in the #OscarsSoWhite video and he left me a comment today! So – oh my goodness – thank you so much for walking it, and thank you for your work – you are inspiring. Thank you for the comment.

Alright everybody, that’s another This Week as an Artivist. I hope YOU have a great week. Thank you for watching and tuning in. Thumbs up if you like it. Subscribe if you like the videos and also tell me what I should watching and tell me what you’re up to. I would love to help support everybody as well.

Alright everybody have a great week. Bye bye.

This Week As an Artivist 3/19/16: #blackradicalimagination, dark eye circles, Hollywood fear


Hey what’s up Artivists! How are you all doing? So I’m curious
what happens to you…so you know Youtube

makes suggested videos and I love how Youtube keeps suggesting this effing video on “How

to correct dark circles under your eyes”
and this is crazy because it’s not like

I have keywords of dark circles there
anything else. It’s literally like the

videos reading that I have dark circles
and look I am SO not about shaming

folks for appearance. And I’m cool. My dark circles – first of all are genetic – so I

wouldn’t take them away. They come from
my family and I love my family. And

second of all a lot of times they have
to do with the fact that I’m utterly

exhausted – and I’m cool with that because
I work really hard and that’s a sign of my hard

work. So anyway: just don’t let those
freaking recommended videos shame you in

any way. I guess I wanna say that. Yeah
they have NOTHING to do with

you. They have to do with an aesthetic
that people have come to believe is

beautiful, and it’s bullshit. Utter bullshit. OK so this week so I went and met

with the president of Pearl Street Films
who I’ll be working closely with, as we

work out what my job entails, and that was really good…

however, things are moving slowly with
the job and…they’re moving slowly

because there’s a lot of fear about what
I’m doing and

and I think also about how to present it
to the public. And it’s so ironic. The

fear of announcing and sharing
with the public that we are taking

measures to try to make more equity in
the entertainment industry – that that’s a

scary thing to talk about. And I
understand there’s fear about miss-

reading the intentions, and it’s just…
look if you’re doing something good and

people question your intentions, then
just keep doing the good. That’s all

you can do is keep doing the good – and certainly reflect and make sure that

you are actually doing the things that
you want to do, making the positive

improvements you want to make. And if you are, keep doing it and don’t worry about

people questioning your intentions. But anyway that’s been really interesting

and…no…no…it hasn’t been interesting.
That’s been really frustrating and

I’ll continue to share updates about it
and hopefully it’ll get better. So I

talked about the Nina Simone film
starring Zoe Saldana couple weeks

ago and I just wanna tell you about – if
you haven’t read it –

Ta-nahisi Coates wrote a beautiful piece
about it and I really like that he

talks about growing up as a
young kid and the perceptions that

we have around dark skin, around
particular features – those features that

Nina Simone herself had – and how she
amazingly overcame that to be this

powerful woman who believes in herself.
And that WE are to blame for holding – it’s

similar to what I was talking about with the dark circles – we are to blame for

holding onto this perspective of what
beauty is and we don’t need to be

perpetuating that. So anyway I’m putting a
link to his article about it. It was

beautiful. I posted a new one-drop rule
video, “How I learned about the one-drop

rule” by my good friend Rudy Guevarra.
I’m so proud to have him

him as part of the series and I love his
response. He identifies as Mexipino

which…I don’t have a lot of
knowledge of that culture, although I

read his great book “Becoming Mexipino
also there’s a link to his book here,

check it out. And please watch his video.
So: United Solo Theatre Festival! I told

you last week that we got in, and our date
is October 13 in New York City. If we do

well with that show, they’ll add other
shows. So I had to this week do a lot

of work to confirm that we’ll be doing
the show. That actually took a couple

hours to put that all together,
but it is DONE and we’re doing that show!

I went to MOCA – the Museum of
Contemporary Art – here in Los Angeles to

see #BlackRadicalImagination and this
is a curated – right now they’re a set of

seven films – and I think they’re
traveling across the country and the

films change, but it was so powerful. So
these are filmmakers who are doing what

we might label “experimental,” Afrofuturism. And these films were great. There was

this huge audience. The good news is
MOCA is now making the films available

online, so I’m putting a link to that.Watch
the films – they’re fantastic and

inspiring. Black stories, Mixed roots
stories, Latinos stories, Native stories

do not have to be in a bubble. We
are not ONE thing. We ARE something. We

are, we have a culture and we have
traditions, but we are not just one thing.

And so it’s…I just love this representation of Blackness in a way

that we don’t see in movies for certain, in
movies that are distributed widely.

Please watch these films. OK that is it. Have a great week.

Tell me what you’re up to. Mama Trudy: I know you’re watching these. Can you…can you interact? Just, y’know,

tell me if you like these videos. Please
give a thumbs up. Pease subscribe,

share the video,

especially the one drop – “How I learned
about the one-drop rule” video and if

you’re interested in sharing your story,
How I learned about the one-drop rule,”

even if your response is, “I’ve never
heard about the one-drop rule” or your

response, “I was born into the one-drop rule,” whatever it is, share it because we would love

to share it with lots of people. Alright have a great, great, great week and I’ll talk to

you next week. Bye Artivists!

How I Learned about the One-Drop Rule: Rudy


FANSHEN: Recently I asked my friends, when was the first time they learned about the one-drop rule, and their answers were incredible, so we’re sharing them with you here, and we’d like to hear yours. So send us an email, tweet us, anything, and let us know: When was the first time YOU learned about the one-drop rule?

RUDY GUEVARRA, JR.: I took an undergraduate course at the University of San Diego – Intro to Ethnic studies and that’s where I learned about it. As somebody that was mixed race it really made me interested into how that functioned with identity and larger issues of race relations. And that course gave me that information and that one thing got me interested in understanding how race functions. I’m racialized Chicano and oftentimes when I’ve had conversations, I’ll say I’m Filipino, or I’ll say I’m Mexipino and they’re like, “But you’re Chicano,” and I’m like, “Yeah, but I’m this too.” And the fact that, I think that I have this ‘drop’ – but more so the phenotype that comes with that drop, I think that there’s a conversation that I have to push back on sometimes, from people. Sometimes, and in particular within the Latino community, in particular the Mexican or Chicano community, they don’t often think that…or there’s not so much…there is and there isn’t…this association with Blackness and these connections and intimate relationships with Blackness that I engage in and always felt this engagement with, that I get questioned on sometimes.

But, I’m going to love who I love – and I don’t care what anybody says.

CHANDRA CRUDUP: Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel to keep up with the latest One Drop news and other videos. Do you have ideas for more video content? Tell us what you’d like to see. We’ll see you next time to share more drops of love. Be sure to tell us by commenting here and on twitter @onedropoflove and how YOU are spreading drops of love.

This Week as an Artivist 3/12/16: Chicago vs. Trump, Brown U, Mujeres de Maíz


Hey Artivists! How are you all doing? I had a great week. I hope you did too.

What’s going on with you? How was your
week? What did you do towards your

Art? Did you see any plays? Oh my goodness, I didn’t go see a play this week. That’s a first! I

was traveling. Did you go anywhere? Did
you stay home? Did you write? Did you

protect your work? I’m gonna do an
episode about how to protect your work. I

think that’s really important. But what’s
going on? How’s life going for you? Leave

a comment. Also if you like these videos,
please do give it a thumbs up,

subscribe to the channel. I really
appreciate it. Alright. Oh wow – this is a

great week. So last Sunday I participated
in the 19th anniversary of Mujeres de Maíz,

which is a an organization that is really dedicated to

bringing together women -diverse women and girls to do

programming, arts, culture, protest,
movements together, politics and I was so

honored to be there. I met a lot of
really cool people. Shout out to that

organization. Of course there are links
below – check them out if you’re here in LA,

support them. Go and be a part of what they do!

OK I went to Brown University and
performed One Drop there. This was their

Multiracial Heritage series. They gave me
this lovely lovely t-shirt, and I love this

on the back: Black Heritage Series and it was so wonderful I’ll show you some photos

of our trip. So when we arrived for Tech,
they were putting up black

curtains because there was this exhibit
behind them. And I was like, “Oh let me see

what it is,” and it was a Black Lives Matter
exhibit at the school. And I was like, “You

must keep this up!” So I was thrilled
to be incorporated into this exhibit for

Black Lives Matter and it was

beautiful. And there were some photos,
a painting behind me and it was so

interesting just as I was moving on the
stage in tech and in the show, it was like

I felt the ancestors. I felt this sacred
space behind me, just kinda like

encouraging me to keep going – and that
this is part of the struggle – and also

hopefully part of a solution –

doing One Drop and having these
conversations we’re having with audiences,

so that was just really beautiful. I want to say thank you to the organizers. Nimisha: you

were incredible. I know what it’s like to
have to organize something and you are

also a full-time student and you just
did such a great job, so thank you so

much for organizing the entire thing.
Also to Sam and Anselmo who I know were

really integral to making things
happen. Also to Elmo, the professor

who hosted our Folk Thought after the

Thank you for doing that with us. I
feel like the students are so lucky to

have you. To Kathy and Alonzo for your
incredible tech work. They learned the show

right away.

Also Alexandrina Agloro – thank you because I know
you’re the reason that the show happened

at Brown at all; that you connected with
them after you saw it and let them know

to add me to their list of folks to
bring. So I appreciate that you did that.

Oh and then who came to the show? Jessi Rizzi (who I knew as Jessi Rizzi

growing up), she’s now Jessi Driskell,
fifth-grade y’all! Fourth or fifth it might have been

fourth grade I’ve known he. Including our
fourth grade or fourth and fifth grade

teacher Barbara Fox, and my high school
teacher Donald who did our Q&A with Junot Diaz in

Cambridge were ALL there. It was just so
beautiful to have you – what a magical

evening. Shout out to Black, Latino and
Muslim students at the University of

Chicago, Illinois for shutting Trump DOWN. I’m
so impressed I’m sooo and, and I’d say

this all the time and it’s still true:
I’m so hopeful

about the future because young folks are
not playing anymore. Hopefully we’ve

learned from past mistakes, particularly
about getting complacent. I keep

thinking, “What happened?” like, the civil
rights movement there was so much

unification and activity and pushing
back and then at some point it just

feels like maybe we all got complacent,
or scared – very likely – when you’re

reminded that your powerless, but, but
these young folks are not having that! They’re like,

“Okay maybe we don’t have the financial resources you have.

We don’t have the political
resources you have, but we have twitter!” –

by the way I keep telling everybody I’ve
been telling you – I mean it’s getting late at

this point, but like, you need to be on
social media. This is how folks are

organizing. This is how we are finding
like-minded people and letting one

another know we’re here and we are
supporting you. So I’m so proud of what

you all did. Congratulations. I’m
gonna put a link to a fund for those

protesters who have been arrested. That
information is there.

OK I don’t know if you remember that a
few weeks ago I told you that submitted

to the United Solo Festival. It’s a solo
theater festival that takes place on 42nd

Street in New York for three months
total – and we got IN! HA!!! WE GOT IN! So One Drop

will be playing on 42nd Street Theater in New York City in October. This really is one

of those cases where we’re going to be
producing the show, so I’ve gotta find

out about the Tech there, make sure
they’ve got space for a projector and a

screen and I gotta figure out marketing
so I’m going to put together a budget this

coming weekend, then really already
start doing social media pushes about

it because if you sell out your show (and
we just have about 55 seats so I’m confident

we can get folks in there) if you sell
out your show, they will extend your

performances. So I’m SO excited,

so glad and will keep you posted on that. Wow about you? What’s up? What’s going on?

How was your week? What are your goals
for this week? Are you writing? Are you

producing? Are you directing? What are you up to? Give us links to come and support

your work! Alright you all have a
wonderful, wonderful week. Mwwaa!

Go. Hit it. DO it. Get going

Artivists. Get some good stuff done and
I’ll talk to you next week. Bye!

This Week as an Artivist 3/5/16: Haircut, Nina Simone, Native Voices


Happy Women’s History Month! Yay! DO it
women. Let’s DO it! All right.

Oh my goodness did you see this? Check it
out. Yeah I got a hair cut. Yeah. My friend Erin Athey

does my hair and she’s so great at it
and she loves CURLS, which is more and

more common, but it’s been a
really hard time finding somebody who

actually enjoys doing my hair and she does
and I love her, so links to her, of course

below ( So first of all I saw a play – you know I like to go see my shows the

first one was “Colony Collapse” at the
Boston Court Theatre. The other play

I saw is “They Don’t Talk Back” and this
is part of Native Voices at the Autry

it’s just…I just sit and watch and think –
it is so sad to me that I only get to

see something like this once or twice a
year. This was beautiful and unique and

they incorporated movement, incorporated
masks. So if you’re in Los Angeles I

think it’s a short run, it’s just
playing through the end of March but

then it’s going to the La Jolla Playhouse and it’s
also going to be in Anchorage, Alaska

which is where the writer is from. So
check it out, Native Voices that the

Autry. Alright tonight I’m going to my
school. Cal State LA. I don’t think I’ve

talked to you about where I got my MFA,
so I got my MFA at California State
University Los Angeles. It is the
cheapest MFA in the entire country, so

that makes it unique in and of itself;
the other great thing is that Cal State

LA is very, very diverse and an inclusive
environment socioeconomically, racially

and culturally, age-wise it’s a
wonderful campus and tonight they’re

doing their MFA alumni awards and
so I’m going to that and I’m always down

for supporting my school, so I’m excited
to go to that. I just…I’m…so many

people have talked about this already,
and I just want to kind of like, leave

it here for posterity, and also to see if
I change my mind

on this later on because I think it’s a
good healthy thing to grow and

evolve – but it makes me really sad that
Zoe Saldana was cast as Nina Simone.

Now I know how this business works. I
know it so well and I know that this is

not entirely of Zoe Saldana’s doing,
and that there was lots of pressure to

do the role and also that she felt like
she could do that role. And I never

want to take away from another actor –
because I know what it feels like to

have somebody not believe in you to be
able to deliver on a performance – but

unfortunately they made the really bad
decision to  put black face on her. I mean I’m

like, look – if you’re confident that you
can play this role? Don’t put blackface,

don’t put on prosthetics, like, let
Nina Simone’s essence come out of you.

But more importantly, Nina Simone fought
against racism and colorism and shadeism

and that was an important part of who she was as a
person and her activism, so to cast

somebody who is representative of the
system that the lighter you are, the

closer you are to white, the more
attractive you are, the more acceptable

you are, the more you can sell tickets – it
just is wrong. Obviously I don’t know

Nina Simone personally, but her family
has spoken out against it and it’s just

a really unfortunate situation, and it
just felt like an insensitive response.

I think for me, one of the most
heartbreaking things about racism is a

lack of sensitivity, and Nina Simone
herself couldn’t have wouldn’t have been

cast or paid the amount of money
that Zoe Saldana got paid, like not even

today. It was just really unfortunate and
I support Zoe Saldana in other roles, and

the work she does, she’s a great actor –
but this was a bad choice and a painful


and insensitive. Let’s all be more
sensitive to each other. I published a

Q&A session with my very good friend
Tanya McRae this week on “Presidential
Mixedness” check that out, it’s under the
One Drop of Love playlist here on the

channel. I backed a Kickstarter project.
Check it out in the links. So this young

woman Nijla Mu’min – I hope I’m saying
her last name correctly – Nijla Mu’min – and

homegirl works, like she’s making her own
opportunities and she’s already raised

lots of funds for the movie, but YOU can
help out too. We talk about the

problems, here is a solution. When a
filmmaker is sharing their own story,

most importantly she’s telling her truth,
telling her story – and not letting

somebody else tell it for her. So please
back her project called Jinn and there

are links to that below, or if you don’t
have the funds, then please share it and

encourage your friends and family to
support it.

OK this was week two of my new job Head of
Equity and Inclusion of Pearl Street

Productions, and this was a good week.
So I had a good phone call with Matt an

Ben and got approval on the things that
I laid out, that I want to get done in this

first year. And I’ll talk about that a
little bit more because one of the

things that I want to do is make our
commitment to equity and inclusion

transparent to everybody, so one of the
things I’m working on is giving us an

online presence that is specifically
about this commitment we’re making and

so we’ll have a place where people can go – it
is not about being congratulated or

rewarded for the work, but, I
want there to be a place where people

can go and look at our numbers and look
at our data and say,

“You’re not doing very well in this area,”
or “Hey this is great!” I had a couple of

good phone calls with friends to
initiate some other things that I want to

get done and also I made a list of
festivals and conferences that I want to

attend, so of course I’ll vlog a
little bit from those conferences and

events. And I’m so excited about the job. I feel really good about it and I feel like I’m

gonna get some good things done.

Alright you all, this was another This
Week as an Artist – thanks for watching.

Share it if you like it, subscribe to the
channel or give a thumbs up if you like


add comments if you want to, and you…YOU…
you keep doing your good work.

Tell us if you need support, tell us what
you’re up to. Yeah. Kick BUTT. GO Women’s

History Month! If you’re a woman,
celebrate yourself, Sister! If you’re a

man, celebrate a woman BIG time. Let her
know how important she is. Let her know

that you support her, and don’t just say
it DO it. All right you all, have a

wonderful, wonderful week and I’ll talk
to you next week. Bye!

One Drop of Love Q&A: Presidential “Mixedness”


TANYA: I have a question in terms of the understanding of what being “biracial” is. And now that it is “presidential” (laughs) and people in this country see a person in power who is of mixed race, what have you seen in terms of the different concept of what being biracial is now compared to when you were growing up, and people not really knowing what “mixed” meant?

FANSHEN: I have to say I’ve kind of come full circle. So you saw some of my identity search and conclusions growing up, and then for a while I was very involved in the mixed community, and proud of being mixed, and I started to see that there was this issue of privilege in that community too, that wasn’t being recognized, and it’s problematic.

One of the things we would do a lot is complain about being asked “What are you?” well, the truth is, that’s a privilege. Because when someone asks you that, they want to be relieved by finding out that you’ve got some white in you, right? And they want to determine where they’re going to put you on a hierarchy. And so I’m more careful about what being mixed means.

Some people that I work with, we have a non-profit called Mixed Roots Stories, and we want to encourage the personal narratives, but within a critical framework. So: understanding history, understanding privilege, understanding that this is all part of an evolutionary process and that if we’re not about doing some good, dismantling of some racism, then that’s not cool. And President Obama publicly stated that on the Census he chose African American. That’s how the world treats him. That’s how he’s seen, and he’s proud of it. So – the biracial folks, and mixed folks, I’m like, ‘yeah, yeah, cool, but just don’t let that determine that you have decided now that you are exclusive of, or better than.

One Drop of Love is a multimedia one-woman show exploring the intersections of race, class, gender, justice and LOVE.
Please SUBSCRIBE to support our work and to get updates on our channel
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Direction by Carol Banker
Q&A Host Patti Lewis
Camera by Katie Walker
Music by Carol Doom
Editing and logo graphics by Alex Regalado in association with SarafinaProductions
The One Drop of Love logo was designed by Zerflin

This Week as an Artivist 2/27/16: New Job, Self Care, Mixedness, The Mountaintop, Black Girl Movement Conference


Good morning Artivists! What’s up you all? It’s a little bit late because my birthday

was on Friday and so I didn’t make a
video on Friday or – usually I make them

on Friday nights and then I upload them
on Saturday, but I was relaxing with my

husband, so I am uploading this one today on Sunday. But it’s still “This Week as an

Artivist” I’m still gonna go through
everything I did this week. So first of

all: I started my job on Monday – my brand
new job – and I am Head of Equity and

Inclusion for Pearl Street Productions.
Pearl Street is the production company

owned by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. It’s
going to be an interesting ride y’all. The good

news is I’ve known Matt and Ben since we
were – let’s see…I met Matt when I was

about nine years old, so the good news is
they know me, they know my politics, they know my

passions, they know what I stand for and
they’ve agreed to bring me on in this

position to help make change in the
entertainment industry. I’m glad you’re

coming along for this ride with us and
I’ll keep these videos going and let you

know how it goes. Speaking of which,
literally the day that I signed my

contract this came out. If you haven’t
read this study it’s incredibly

important if you’re in the
entertainment industry or interested in

being in the entertainment industry. It is breaking down – with clear data –

the numbers of women, women over 40, LGBTQ
representations, representations by race

/ ethnicity and it’s really well done,
very clear. What I really appreciate

is that at the end they provide a bullet
list for solutions.

That’s really going to be helpful to
me – here we go – “Solutions for Change” and

that’s awesome because it’s important to
talk about the disparities and the

problems, but it’s also important to talk
about what we’re gonna do to change that.

So I’ll be using this quite a bit in my
new job.

Also this week I had a meeting for Mixed
Roots Stories – the LA site committee for

the Critical Mixed Race Studies
conference. So Critical Mixed Race

Studies is a nonprofit that really
encourages the academic study and a

critical lens on mixedness. If
you don’t know me well, this is really

important to me that we absolutely
acknowledge who we are as mixed folks. So

my mom is White. She identifies as
Cherokee, Danish and Blackfoot Indian. My

dad is Jamaican – he’s Black, and I’m mixed
and I’m Black and I’ve got White in me

and I think that’s an
important experience to talk about, but

with a critical, ’cause I think
sometimes when we talk about it we don’t

see how we see ourselves only in our own
personal bubble – and it’s important to

understand the context of race and
culture and the things that have

happened in this country (if that’s where
you’re living) and across the world that

affect the choices we make around
identity. So anyway: the Critical

Mixed Race Studies conference is going
to be in in LA in 2017, and the

nonprofit that I co-direct called
Mixed Roots Stories is doing the arts

and cultural programming for the
Critical Mixed Race Studies conference.

2017 in February. I’ll talk about it
a lot as it comes up – so we had an LA

site committee meeting on Monday at USC,
and it was great. We’re starting to talk

about who should be invited, Keynote
speakers, how can we really spread the

word and get the word out more about the
conference. So if you…check it out, there

are links there if you’re interested, if you want
to hear more about it, let me know and we

will bring you on board – we’re looking for
volunteers, we’re looking for people who

are excited about it and I’ll tell you
more later. OK I want to talk a little

bit about self-care, because I’m not
great at it, but I intend to be, and

I think it’s important. For me

self-care is nutrition, exercise and
spiritual health, and so I started at a gym

Last Monday. Well, I definitely hurt myself

after the first couple of days, and then
had to take a few days off, but it’s great

and it’s a women’s gym and I really
appreciate that everyone really

kind of pushes each other. It’s called
Pink Iron here, if you’re in LA check it out and then

also I’ve got this thing where ok during
the week I am eating healthy meals which

for me a good balance for me are: a good
amount of protein, lots of vegetables,

and a tiny bit of grains – a tiny bit of
carbs, so that’s gonna be during

the week. And then on the weekend I let
myself enjoy myself so I’ll get a mocha,

which I try not to drink a lot of
caffeine, will get a mocha, have a glass

of wine, some sweets and enjoy myself.
Chocolate. Chocolate is always a good

thing. So anyways SELF CARE. What do you
do for self care? I’d love to hear. OK you

know I like to go see theater as much as

and I saw The Mountaintop. It’s playing
at the Matrix theater until April 10 here

in LA. So if you’re in LA please go see
it. It’s by Katori Hall. It takes place

the last evening before Martin Luther
King Junior is assassinated, and he gets

a visit from a woman – I can’t tell you
much more about it to not spoil it, but

the woman – the character is incredible. I
think she’s one of the strongest, most

complex and beautifully developed Black
women in theater – who’s specifically

written as a Black woman – and this woman:
Danielle Truitt plays Ca’Mae and she’s just

incredible and Larry Bates is also great. He
plays Martin Luther King Jr. Without

question, though, Daniel Truitt steals
the show. This production is also

directed by Roger Guenvere Smith. There were not enough people in the

theater when we went, so PLEASE go see
this. Support them. Spread the word. If

you’re not in LA, see if anybody’s doing
this show. They’re doing it at the

Matrix for Black History Month – you don’t
need to only see it on Black History Month,

you should see it anytime. It’s so good. Oh
my gosh! April 7 through 9, 2016 I’m

looking at my phone ’cause I want to
read this to you. There is the Black Girl Movement Conference in New York. It’s
being held at Columbia University – which

is my school!!! I went to Teachers College – yayyy! So, “Black Girl Movement – a national

conference is a three-day gathering at
Columbia University in New York City to

focus on Black girls, cis, queer and
trans girls in the United States.

Bringing together, artists, activists – ARTIVISTS! –
educators, policymakers and Black girl

leaders themselves. This first national
conference on Black girls seeks to

address the disadvantages that Black
girls in the United States face while

creating the political will to publicly
acknowledge their achievements,

contributions and leadership.” Alright I
know you can read yourselves, but I just…

I read that and I get excited every time I
read that. So links for everything down

below. What are your goals? What’s going
on? What have you achieved as Artivists?

Keep up this great, great, incredible, important
work we do – and wish me luck on this new job.

and on staying in shape – staying FIT and I’ll talk
to you next week. Bye bye.

One Drop of Love Testimonial: Ashley – one story DOES make a difference


CHANDRA: One of the best parts about the post-show conversations is when people feel compelled to share their own stories. In this clip, Ashley shares what it’s like for her as a Black female traveling through the Dominican Republic.

ASHLEY: One of the things that really resonated with me was the dynamic with race in other cultures. As a Black individual I’ve had the experience to go live in the Dominican Republic and there’s this racial dynamic between Haitians and Dominicans and oftentimes I was cussed out in four languages, by Haitians – they were telling me I’m denying my Haitian roots. The Dominican family I lived with, they had problems with my braids because those were identified as Haitian. Especially as a Black American you go on these journeys to really figure out who you are because you DO have so many people trying to tell you who you are – or what it means to be Black, or what it means to be this and, you think – well I had the perception that if I go overseas, I’ll be able to connect more, and I’ll be able to just be me, and it won’t have to be about race or how dark I am or how I sound and, just hearing that my experience wasn’t the only experience like that. That it really didn’t matter, like I didn’t find that oneness, that wholeness that I was expecting to find. I found more divisions. And hearing that in the story, it was sad.

Because I’m actually a Youth Pastor at an all-White church (laughs). At an all-White church. I never share that story. I always kind of tread on light water because I always have this feeling that…I know that my being here is a great thing, but it ruffles some feathers as well. And it’s like you never know when you’re put in these environments how you’re supposed to be. What’s uncomfortable? What’s not comfortable enough? What’s too, what’s saying too much? How bold can I be? Our congregation is older, white individuals, it’s a highly conservative church and things that are just uncomfortable? We don’t really do.

PATTI: And that’s the show. Like, if it’s uncomfortable…

ASHLEY: You just gotta deal with it yourself. You’re uncomfortable within yourself because you can’t find any comfort talking about it. But, with this show I appreciate it because you realize how many people have similar stories. Even if it’s just a little part of her story resonates with someone else, you realize that, OK. I’m not uncomfortable by myself. People ARE talking about this. And…one story DOES make a difference. The stories are never the same but the themes are always recurring. It’s human nature.