I am a multiracial performer and writer. Growing up in a mixed race household in the very black and white Kansas City, MO made me hyper-aware of racial politics and dynamics from a very early age. As a performer, I became even more attuned to the demands of racial performativity and image. After my fair share of negotiating naysayer critics who balked at colorblind casting and directors whose work thrived on stereotypes, I came to expect just about anything in the casting process. Additionally, while I had read countless novels and books on the topic, I continued to see very few films and plays about the mixed race experience.
Key & Peele and Vin Diesel’s short film, Multifacial (which begs for a better name), were a revelation to me. TV and film slowly began catching up. The United Colors of Amani was conceived of when I began to see my role in the acceleration of telling the stories of the rapidly growing American demographic of mixed race people. I only expected to do one season of the series. The show’s popularity took me by surprise, not just the news coverage, but also the messages and interest from young women and men from diverse backgrounds, households and communities who felt so personally connected to the material. Performers need an audience, and suddenly, I had one. So I’ve created more episodes to give the people what they want. Season Two is bigger, better, browner. More Amani, more problems.