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When people don’t know “what” you are, you get your heart broken daily.
We’re going to have babies and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it! When I was born in 1974, there were almost no other biracial families–or black families–in our neighborhood. Mommy would take me out in my stroller and people would say, “What a beautiful baby…whose is it? I thought she had the most gorgeous hair–those curly, curly ringlets. KIDADA: One day a little blond classmate just out and called me “Chocolate bar.” I shot back: “Vanilla! I went by the book, writing a fan letter–and I got back a form letter. ” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. While Rashida stayed and excelled at Buckley, Kidada bumped from school to school; she got expelled from 10 in all because of behavior problems, which turned out to be related to her dyslexia. Anna was my “ethnic mama.” PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U. ” KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. ” Still, that’s not as bad as when people don’t know.
” QUINCY: I felt deeply for Kidada; I thought racism would be over by the eighties. Kidada called the show, used her charm, wouldn’t take no for an answer. KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother–who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike–but: I am black. A year ago a taxi driver said to me, That Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman.
My role was to put things in perspective for her, project optimism, imply that things were better than they’d been for me growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1930s. The hair, the skin, the frustration with schoolwork: It was all part of the shake. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. Thank God she left that disgusting black man, Puffy.” I said, “I’m black.” He tried to smooth it over.
KIDADA: I had another hurdle as a kid: I was dyslexic. IF you’re obviously black, white people watch their tongues, but with me they think they can say anything.
So I searched for a private school that had a good proportion of black students, and when she was 12, I found one. I’d go to my black girlfriends’ houses and–I wanted their life!
I lived in a gated house in a gated neighborhood, where playdates were: “My security will call your security.” Going to my black friends’ houses, I saw a world that was warm and real, where families sat down for dinner together.
At our house, Rashida and I often ate dinner on trays, watching TV in Anna’s room, because our dada was composing and performing at night and Mom sat in on his sessions. All those cute black boys; no offense, but I thought white boys were boring. RASHIDA: Our parents divorced when I was 10; Kidada went to live with Dad in his new house in Bel Air, and I moved with Mom to a house in Brentwood.
interview that really delved into Rashida’s upbringing alongside her sister Kidad and includes quotes from their actress mom Peggy Lipton and their producer dad Quincy Jones. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure.
It goes a long way in explaining why Rashida relates so well to Jewish folk and how she got turned off black men. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.
We thought it was also interesting because her sister Kidada, who relates more to her black side, even says at one point that Rashida passed for white back in the day. My mother shocked her Jewish parents by marrying out of her religion and race. IN preschool, our mother enrolled us in the Buckley School, an exclusive private school. RASHIDA: In reaction to all that differentess, Kidada tried hard to define herself as a unique person by becoming a real tomboy. Here’s the difference in our charisma: When I was 8 and Kidada was 10, we tried to get invited into the audience of our favorite TV shows. KIDADA: Let me make this clear: My feelings about my looks were never “in comparison to” Rashida. KIDADA: I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me.
And my father: growing up poor and black, buckling the odds and becoming so successful, having the attitude of “I love this woman! But there’s the warmth of love inside a family, and then there’s the outside world. KIDADA: While Rashida wore girly dresses, I loved my Mr. But seeing the straight hair like the other girls had, like my sister had…I felt: “It’s not fair! ” PEGGY: I was the besotted mother of two beautiful daughters I’d had with the man I loved–I saw Kidada through those eyes. Mine was Not Necessarily the News, a mock news show, and hers was Punky Brewster, about a spunky orphan. It was the white girls in class that I compared myself to. Our parents weren’t black and white; they were Mommy and Daddy. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them. Mommy knew Anna could give her the backup she needed in the discipline department because she was my color. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. ” I want to say: “Do you know how hurtful that is to somebody who identifies so strongly with half of who she is?