My feature in (1)ne Drop – dialogues on racial politics and identity

Being black is not a matter of pigmentation being black kis a reflection of a mental attitude  – Steve Bantu Biko

I am participating in an upcoming collaborative project by Africana Studies scholar Yaba Blay, Ph.D. and award-winning photographer Noelle Théard.

(1)ne Drop, as the documentary is called, is going to be a thought-provoking look into the “other” faces of blackness. Using the historical “one-drop rule” as a reference, Blay and Théard’s project seeks to challenge the narrow, yet popular perceptions of  blackness through one-on-one conversations and personal insights with people world over, who will be sharing stories about racial identity in a photo essay book format and intimate videos of our journeys on the 1drop website.

The conversation will explore the experiences of people of African descent from around the world, from Jamaica to Brasil to London and further to discuss with people who identify as black (or some version of black), yet have had their blackness challenged, whether through their skin color, hair texture, the color of their eyes, the shape of their bodies or any combination of physical characteristics, where something about their particular appearance causes other people to question their identities.

I am taking part because I believe that we need to keep talking and thinking about the confusion that has been created by racial categories. Somehow the term “post-racial” has slipped into mainstream reporting, suggesting that we have “gotten over race” or that we no longer have racial issues to tackle.(1)ne Drop demonstrates that concerns about race and what box people fit into are as important now, as they were when the US first instituted the one-drop rule.

How do you define blackness?
Does this sound like something you would like to see?
If so, support (1) Drop by visiting the Kickstarter page to find out how you can help and donate.

Images courtesy of Noelle Théard.

  • teachermrw

    This is a fantastic project, and I am glad to know that you will be taking part. I have bookmarked the website!

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks, much appreciated!

  • dionne

    What a fantastic project! Excited for you sweet Minna! X

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks sweet Dionne :) Much love

  • Nike

    To me, black is just a colour, but I think the blackness we are referring to is the shared experience (good or bad) of being a black person in our world and the world of our ancestors before us. Acknowledgement of the so-called one drop simply means that we ‘see’ those experiences, acknowledge and strive to learn from them as we move forward in our own lives, whether we look ‘black’ or not. The idea of a post-racial world is a bit perplexing to me as I feel like we still live in a very ‘racial’ world as any world where one has to justify their ‘blackness’ or themselves based on the definition of others is still very racial to me.
    That being said, Ms. Salami, I am excited that you are taking part in the project. Your voice is a very important one…look forward to it. Keep us posted as to when it will be released. I will be keeping my eyes peeled on this one. Keep on keeping on, dearie!

    • MsAfropolitan

      Thanks Nike, your feedback is dear to me. I also like what you say re blackness, we make the mistake of trying to assess it by skin tone, when really it’s a history that we share that is the axis of black identity, whether you are a fair Tuareg from Mali or a ‘colored’ South African or a brown toned Hausa.

  • Ibou


  • Trina Roach

    What a fantastic-sounding project. I love the fact that the international perspective is given space. Here’s hoping that this documentary provokes not only thought, but attitudinal change!

    • MsAfropolitan

      I truly believe it will, precisely because Yaba and Noelle are driven perhaps foremost by demonstrating the international dimensions of race and identity. Thanks for stopping by Trina :)