Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Un Certain Regard

Can I just tell you how warm and fuzzy I'm feeling these days as our Hip Hapa Homeez Facebook group page swells to nearly 800 members, and our Watermelon Sushi Fan page pushes towards 500? You guys rock!

Your support grows us, so mad love to you all. Remember, our Hapa*Teez t-shirts are still available for you. Also, visit our Watermelon Sushi website for more info about our film. And, Watermelon Sushi is now on Twitter, so tweet us!

Tonight's featured Hip Hapa Homee is Juliette Fairley--pictured above--, an actor, writer and performance artist. Read about her at the links below, and then enjoy the interview. And, if you're an HHH with something to say, hollah at and we'll showcase you on this blog, too.

Q: What's a nice multiracial girl like you doing onstage revealing your life for the whole world to see?

A: This revenge is fitting for all of the wrongs I suffered at the hands of my interracial parents. My blond haired, blue-eyed mother is terrified at what people will think of her and her French family back in Paris. My father, on the other hand, a descendant of slaves in North Carolina, says, "I ain't got nothin' to hide. I know where I came from and, hell, it's the truth." So, it's therapeutic for me to process my background and my parents' experiences in front of a theatre full of strangers. I like to pull people into the fray of my life!

Q: I always understood the word mulatto to be a derogatory term referred to mixed-race slaves. How did it become resurrected as a positive expression?

A: I don't know if it's positive yet, but it sure does sell theatre tickets. The producers deliberately chose to use the word mulatto because it's controversial and will sell tickets. Besides, I like to do things differently and nobody has had the nerve yet to come out with a show called Mulatto.

Q: Who is Afro, European, or French in your family and how did they meet?

A: That's what the show is about. You'll have to see the play. Short answers is that my mom is French white and my father is Afro from North Carolina.

Q: What was it like working with Spike Lee?

A: He's a maverick. I admire his courage and tenacity. It was a good experience. He is a professional. The media has portrayed him as an angry black man, but when I worked with him he was polite and pleasant.

Q: How hard was it to make Mulatto's Dilemma set in the 1920's?

A: I had to order posters from the 1920's and I hired a painter to paint the portrait that is revealed in the second half of the show. I also had my flapper girl costume hand made by a seamstress in Harlem. She was 75 years old. I spent a lot of time tracking down the long cigarette holder that one of my characters, Loretta Jones, smokes. I found it in a thrift shop in the east village of Manhattan.

Q: In The Making of a Mulatto, you once again turn to history (Nazism in France) to get your point across. Is there a reason why?

A: Growing up, I heard a lot about the Nazis from my French grandmother. She was born in 1909 and lived through the Nazi occupation of France. I also heard a lot about slavery and Jim Crow from my father. So, I have a unique view on history and life. The point is that fascists spend a lot of time scheming on how to keep the races apart, but the insanity of fascism causes the races to run toward each other out of terror.

Q: You've racked up a lot of awards including Best Actress for the Exchange Award. How do you think you'll top yourself?

A: I'm a candidate for a Los Angeles Stage Alliance Ovation Award this fall 2009, and for a Beverly Hills Hollywood NAACP Award in 2010.

Merci beaucoups, Mademoiselle Juliette! Your dazzling energy is so intense that all I can say is bon nuit and bonne chance.

Your Hip Hapa,


P.S. Here are more links where you can view Juliette. Also, additional performances have been scheduled for September 13 and 27.

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