Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Susan's Story, FGM v. MGM, Rain, Brown Girl, And Lily

One of the reasons I love being Your Hip Hapa is because of the caliber of connections I make. Every week, I receive wonderfully encouraging emails from other hip hapa homeez and from the friends and families of hip hapa homeez, too.

Since I've been mostly blogging about my own adventures here in my Watermelon Sushi World, I think it's time to showcase some of yours. So, meet Susan Stead-Carter. Here is a brief intro, in her words:

"I am also Japanese and black American. My parents were married in 1959, and my dad, Roland F. Stead, Jr., was a serviceman. My mother, the former Teruko Nishina, was from Fukuoka Japan. Although I was born in the U.S., I moved to Japan when I was nearly two when my dad was reassigned from Ft. Lewis to Korea. I lived in Japan for the next 10 years with my mother while dad served various assignments. To make sure I lived a stable life, we lived in various parts of Japan (sometimes with relatives, other times on base) until my dad got his orders in 1974. I was very Japanese then as far as culture was concerned (I was fluent), but my parents made me very aware that most Japanese would not consider me as such. Although I lived in a protected environment of an Army base when I first moved to the states, I was not prepared for the isolation I felt when, after dad retired, I moved to an area where there were very few black Americans. And, I was even more unprepared when I was not accepted by them."

Currently, Susan lives with her husband and three sons in Virginia. She has generously shared photos (here) of her parents taken in Beppu Fukuoka in 1953, as well as one of herself in grade school.

If you're interested in having your multiracial story told on this blog, please drop me a line along with some photos at

A few days ago, I began reading Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home by Lise Funderburg. I can't believe my incredible good fortune in winning this book in a contest that Lise held on her website. If you're not familiar with this author, she wrote Black, White, Other--a book about mixed folks with black and white parents. In my opinion, it is the most definitive book about biracial people as it's told in their own words accompanied by their photos. I'll let you know what unfolds in Lise's latest--a memoir about her late father.

Speaking of black and white, Kahlil Crawford, a multiracial activist has been clueing me in on issues between FGM's and MGM's. FGM stands for First Generation Mulatto while MGM is for Multi-Generational Mulatto. From what I've gathered, there's resentment between the two camps as FGM's have one white parent and one black, and generally feel free to identify themselves as biracial, while MGM's tend to be considered light-skinned blacks no matter how multiracial they may be or feel. Examples I read about indicated that Halle Berry is considered an FGM while Vanessa Williams is an MGM. It's a new world to me, and I'm learning as I go. If any of you have anything to add to this topic, please drop me a line at

Just today, I received an email from my delightful friend Rain Pryor, a talented writer and performer. Here's the link to her latest show titled Colorism.

Rain's mother is Jewish, and her father is the late comedian and actor Richard Pryor. You pour, Rain!

Hey, I'm so HAPA to see so many of us putting our multiracial agendas out there. A few days ago, my Oak-town friend, Jazmine Jackson, turned me on to
In a few weeks, a piece I've written will be posted there, but for now you can go to Tracey's website and participate in a poll about mixed-race people. Just click "Other Stuff" on the landing page to take the survey.

Wow! I cannot believe I spent four hours on the phone last night with Lily Anne Yumi Welty. This Japanese and Caucasian student is currently in Japan doing research for her Ph.d dissertation on mixed-race Japanese. Her interview with me was a blast as we yapped, joked and compared notes about our hapaness. Lily is looking for any half Japanese folks who were born between the 1940's-1960's. If that describes you, email her at and tell Lily that Your Hip Hapa sent you.

Well, that's about all the news that's fit to print for now. I may be in need of a panelist for the Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival in LA in June, so drop me a line at if you're multiracial and would like to be considered.

We're also going to be auditioning talent in L.A. in June. If you're an actor, check out the group page for Hip Hapa Homeez on Facebook. You can see the breakdowns and audition information posted there. Rapper and Music Consultant Miwa Lyric will be assisting us, so come on out and meet Downey's down diva!

Remember, for those of you fiending to be a part of our Watermelon Sushi film, we still have Hapa*Teez t-shirts available at

Finally, here's to HAPA-ness for everyone, and a special shout-out to Brian Parker who remembered my birthday with a really cool card.

Peace out, ya'll.

Your Hip Hapa,


Anonymous said...

"MGM's tend to be considered light-skinned blacks no matter how multiracial they may be or feel."

It's true. We expect that from Whites & Blacks, but it SUCKS coming from other MOST issues regarding pre-Loving miscegenation, it's unspoken.

Yayoi Lena Winfrey said...

Right on. Thank you for your comments!

Your Hip Hapa,