New article on “Lost Daughters” : Rachel Dolezal and the Privilege of Racial Manipulation

This madness around #RachelDolezal has me and many other transracial adoptees and transracial families squirming and a bit angry. Please check out this article I wrote for Lost Daughters about the whole debaucle.

Transracial Lives Matter: Rachel Dolezal and the Privilege of Racial Manipulation

“The commodification of Otherness has been so successful because it is offered as a new delight, more intense, more satisfying than normal ways of doing and feeling. Within commodity culture, ethnicity becomes spice, seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture.” bell hooks — Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance

“They love our bodies, but they don’t love us.” #BlackWomensLivesMatter #SayHerName

“Everybody wanna be a nigga, but nobody wanna be a nigga.” Paul Mooney. 

I was doing my best to ignore this story. It wasn’t until one of my fellow adult adoptees alerted me to the fact that Twitter (which I use religiously, but avoided specifically the past two days) had begun to use the term “Transracial” to refer to Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who has been outed as hiding her whiteness and living as a black woman that I paid attention.  I discovered that Twitter had also begun a hashtag as a sarcastic taunt — #TransracialLivesMatter. Then, I read an article that argued that “transracial identity, is not a thing.” Um. No.

For those of you who don’t know, and clearly there are a lot of you, the term “transracial” is used in scholarly research, creative writing and cultural work to denote a particular “state of being” for people adopted across race. It also describes a kind of family unit / type of parenting. In other words, it IS a ‘thing’. It is disheartening and disconcerting to see this term used dismissively as if it does not encompass an entire population of Black, Brown, Native and Asian people across the globe. For the past 35ish years, I’ve considered myself to be a transracial adoptee. The “trans” in transracial for me, never meant my race changed. It meant I was a multiracial black girl, adopted into a white family. It meant I was taken without my consent from one home, one place of origin and put inside another family, another culture, another race, one that didn’t belong to me. It meant I had to learn how to navigate my blackness and my black girlness, inside an often times racist, religious, violent and rigid white world. It meant living in a house and community that simultaneously erased me, racialized me and tokenized me. It gave me a language to articulate what was happening to me. But you know what it didn’t do? It never actually changed my race.”


London Calling Me! Callaloo Writing Workshop – Oct 26th

My new manuscript and new Adoptee Artist Collaborations ahead!! 

I’m honored to have been invited to attend the CALLALOO Literary Journal’s 2014 Writing Workshop hosted by the Black Cultural Archives, in collaboration with The Equiano Centre at University College London, England. I have a chance to work with esteemed poet Gregory Pardlo and be in residence with fiction writers Maaza Mengiste and Jackson Brown as well as 20 other multi-genre writers selected from across the global African

CALLALOO is a journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters based at Texas A&M University, and ranked one of the top 15 literary magazines in the United States by Every Writer’s Resource. Ranked among such periodicals as The New Yorker Magazine, Paris Review, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and Kenyon Review, Callaloo is edited by Dr. Charles Henry Rowell, a professor of English, and published quarterly by the Johns Hopkins University Press in Baltimore, MD.

Unfortunately, CALLALOO is unable to provide funding support for the writers who are attending, so we are asked to pay our own transportation, room and board. Your individual support ensures my ability to attend this workshop, to further my artistic development and to collaborate with other artists from across the globe.

1) While in residence at the week long workshop, I will be continuing the development of my current poetry manuscript, “Anchoring the Compass”. This manuscript furthers the artistic exploration I began in my solo performance play, “Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls Story of being Adopted into a White Family . . . that aren’t Celebrities.” (awarded Zellerbach Foundation, James Irvine Foundation grants).  This play examined my relationship to my Black and Filipino ancestry and the many historical secrets as a result of being adopted by white parents. “Anchoring the Compass” manuscript extends many of the themes I began to explore in my play, including the complexity of a hybrid, diasporic identity when one does not know one’s birth family history nor has any visible, mirrored link to a particular ancestral homeland. Many of the pieces in “Anchoring” explore how searching, speculation, story-making, mythology and invention all play a part in the development of the constantly moving, changing identities of adopted bodies. Reproductive justice, family preservation and the resistance to human trafficking are strong threads in this work.

Post workshop – I play to extend my trip for one week: 

2) to continue my research on diasporic black adoptee communities. This research is a major part of the work that is informing my new play in development, “Side Effects”.  “Side Effects” is a theater/ dance / visual art project that explores the personal and geopolitical impacts of inter-country and domestic transracial adoption on Black, Asian and multi-racial bodies of color. This multidisciplinary theater project speaks to the phenomenon of global adoption, and adds to conversations around concepts of multiple diasporas and the dispersal of bodies of color for white consumption, under the guise of multiculturalism and philanthropy.

3) to make connections to other adoptee artists working, writing and performing in London for potential transnational artistic collaboration.

Please check out my INDIEGOGO Campaign Here  – share it with your folks who you know support writers, who support adoptee artists and who are interested in getting on at the beginning to support the development of my next multi-disciplinary play.

Your contribution goes directly to assist with airfare, room and board for the duration of the workshop and for the week of collaborative artistic meetings post workshop. Your donations also go to the percentages that Indigogo and PayPal take for fees.

Thank you in advance for your support! 

TICKETS ON SALE for NYC Premiere Aug 10-23

NYC – I’m coming for YOU!! – Here’s the information about the NYC show.




Fri 8/10 @ 8:30 pm

Sun 8/12 @ 7pm

Wed 8/15 @ 8:30

Fri 8/17 @ 4:00pm

Sun 8/19 @ 2:15pm

Thu 8/23 @ 5:00pm



VENUE #6: The White Box at 440 Studios

NYC Dates and Supporting Adult Adoptee Voices

Yay! I got my dates for the NYC shows! Please pass this information on to all your folks on the East Coast who should come see the show!

There are six shows – August 10-23rd.

Check out the NEW TRAILER of the show here!

FRI 8/10 @ 8:30p
SUN 8/12 @ 7:00p
WED 8/15 @ 8:30p
FRI 8/17 @ 4:00p
SUN 8/19 @ 2:15p
THUR 8/23 @ 5:00p

Tickets go on sale July 20th! TICKET INFO HERE

We have 13 days left on our campaign to get to NYC – we NEED your donation and your help to spread the word! Please check out the kickstarter video and donate what you can!

Thank you so much for all your support and See you in NYC!!

NYC Premiere! Yay! I got IN!!

I’m thrilled to announce that my play “Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls story of being adopted into a white family…that aren’t celebrities” will have its NYC Premiere at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival in August!! I got in!!! YEEEEEEE! NYC here I come!

I will be posting fundraising, production updates, and the specific show dates as soon as I get all that information!

HUGE HUGE thank you again to ALL of my donors, both individual, organizational and foundations! Huge thank you to the adoptee community who has has my back from the beginning. I could NEVER have gotten this far without your support. Lets DO this!!

“Altar of Unknown” in River, Blood Corn: A Literary Journal

I’m thrilled that I’m featured in the January 2012 issue of River, Blood Corn: A Literary Journal!

I’ve been thinking so much about the incredible resilience of adoptees and fostered people. We move through our lives with so many things that are ‘lost’ or ‘missing’ or ‘absent’. I put those words in parentheticals because the words themselves don’t actually articulate well what it means to have these complete ‘unknowns’ drawn on pieces of our lives. Its not like I feel this ‘loss’ or ‘absence’ in a way that makes me sit around and bitch about it, I feel this loss in a deep, way that expresses itself as longing for something, or sometimes as loneliness, or sometimes as fear, sadness, grief. It is always there, like the impact of skin color or the death of a parent. Sometimes it overwhelms me and other times it is the barest register when someone asks, “where were you born?”. I am thinking about resilience because I think about how heavy this load can become sometimes. This article speaks to a way of reconciliation for my spirit, a way I hold on to accepting, healing and being with these longings.