How do you define “Blackness”? Skin color? Connection to Africa? Cultural ties? Throughout American history, there have been many iterations of what is and is not considered “Black.” Through slavery and colonization, interracial mixing has both expanded and confused the definition of what it means to be Black for many. Although much has been written about “Blackness,” very few things have explored what it means to be Black when, at first glance, you don’t appear to be Black.

Enter Africana Studies scholar Yaba Blay, Ph.D. and photographer Noelle Théard. Through their project (1)ne Drop, Blay and Théard seek to “to challenge narrow, yet popular perceptions of what ‘Blackness’ is and what ‘Blackness’ looks like” by restarting a “long-overdue and much needed dialogue about racial identity and skin color politics.”

Although the issue of race and how we define ourselves (and how the world views us) is still pertinent, many aren’t tackling the topic. Because of this Blay and Théard have set out to create a book that will take a look at how Blackness is perceived in our racialized world.

To aid their efforts, Blay and Théard are attempting to raise $9,000 to finish their project. So far, they’ve already raised over $4,000 and have a month to generate the rest.

Check out the (1) Drop Kickstarter page for more information about the project and to donate!

How do YOU define Blackness? 

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  • Annie

    @Lb*rollingstone I’m sorry but to make generalizations such as you’ve stated is a gross overestimation. I’m sure that plenty of people who are of mixed/multi-raced families experience blackness or otherness just as your “full two ‘black’ parents do” so save it.

    This book is about trying to create a dialogue about blackness which for many people is not as implicit as your skin tone.
    Reminder, race isn’t real and in case you need a reminder. Look at a cut, we all bleed the same blood and underneath our dermis we are all made of the same stuff. And if people of color cannot stand in solidarity with one another than the notion of race (which isn’t in and of itself real) becomes real and we are defined by something a group of pirates made up to keep us divided and down.

    I really like this site but I can’t deal with people trying to negate another personals personal experience. Before you put your two cents in about how this person is wrong, know that you don’t live their life and you have no right to say the are inaccurate in their telling of their personal experience’s with race/identity/otherness.

    Blackness isn’t monotone, blackness is a vast and diverse thing. It’s very frustrating to think that some people what to relive and keep retelling the same old tropes of a blackness created oppressive and insulting pirates.

  • Nic

    @Annie ~ “Race Isn’t Real” ~ Remarkable… Getting to this level of overstanding is a process that takes serious assessment on a multitude of levels (socio-political-economic-historical-cultural-familial) … At this level of clearly recognizing the mythology of race, you are not held “victim” to societal traps, inner|outer bias and perpetual stereotypes of a people – Broad stroke definitions don’t work for a people as complex & diverse, as those of African descent, globally….. Clearly feelings run deep & opinions are vast on this subject of defining “Blackness”, all encompassing…. However, NONE of us are 100% anything, despite the myths… I’m sure we’d all be surprised of our comprehensive bloodline, if we really took the time to research it, and then accept & understand that very simple fact.

    @Beauty Girl ~ I appreciated reading your posts ~ What stood out was the message of personal responsibility, which bypasses all of the racial confusion that ultimately diverts from the larger, more meaningful goal of creating your very best life, without the B.S. attached (stereotypes of race at the crux) Also, to your point of nurturing the extended family unit – Wherein everyone has a responsibility to the development of the whole. My family structure, maternal & paternal, is like this… And within my friendships across the Diaspora – US, Panama, Cuba, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Ghana, Guyana, Europe, etc. – I’ve been drawn to that same connection… We all play a part in the development of the generations, so thanks for sharing that message.