Aloha Hip Hapa Homeez,
|the poet ponders|
HAPA Black History Month, Valentine’s Day and, of course, Presidents’ Day (George and Lincoln). February is a terribly busy month for being so short. In keeping with things quick and fast, please enjoy the following interview with Kahlil Crawford (Fontaine).
Seriously, Your Hip Hapa has been acquainted with Mr. Crawford, an artist and poet who heads Latin Music Booking, since about 1999, when he first contacted me about Watermelon Sushi. Since then, we’ve both grown along with the mixed-race movement. Please indulge yourself and enjoy this sweet treat.
Q: Kahlil, who are your parents and how did they meet?
A: I have three parents--my father remarried--who all met in Chicago (my hometown). My birth parents were high school sweethearts. I identify my Father as Afro-Créole; my birth Mother as Huguenot; and, my other Mother as Afro-Irish/Celtic.
Q: Were you aware of your mixed-race heritage as you were growing up?
A: I grew up upper-middle class in Chicago. I was always aware of my mixed heritage, more so on my Father's side, yet never beyond the context of family history awareness. I was not politicized as a mixed-race person. It was always more of a historical or conversational footnote, something to discuss privately around family heirlooms or at reunions.
When my family began attending Carnavale, we became Créolized. New Orleans/Mardi Gras culture became predominate in our home. Créolité Louisiane is my cultural essence.
Q: What kinds of neighborhoods did you live in?
A: I grew up in Hyde Park-Kenwood, undoubtedly one of the more integrated and academically oriented neighborhoods in Chicago. Mixed-race families were, and are, a common sight and normal to the neighborhood dynamic.
Q: You said you were not politicized as a mixed-race person growing up. How did you eventually become politicized?
A: The Boricua instilled in me “Mulatto Pride, Loyalty & Self-Defense”.
|in solidarity, alone|
Q: What do you consider the biggest issue for people who are multigenerational mixed-race?
A: I have always believed the greatest issue facing the mixed-race community is solidarity. Advancing solidarity has been the backbone of my activism from day one...much easier spoken than achieved.
Q: As a poet and artist, how do you convey your mixed-race messages through art?
A: Right now I'm repping my Native side. I belong to the Métis Nation. Check us out. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Q: What significant contributions have you made to the mixed-race movement, if any?
A: I am proud of having written for the now-defunct mgmix.com (MyGeneMix) with Chance Kelsey. I am now a member of sblendedblend.com.
Keepin’ it on the real, Hip Hapa Homeez, thank you for your short attention span this month. And, please check out our Watermelon Sushi website and like our Facebook fan page. You can also watch a video of our Hapa*Teez t-shirts on YouTube and like our fan page. And, while you’re on YouTube, look for our War Brides of Japan version 1 and version 2 videos with its own fan page. And, remember to join our Hip Hapa Homeez group page to add your voice to the mix, so to speak.
Your Hip Hapa,