Saturday, 25 January 2014

The Three Musketeers by author Alexandre Dumas

The Musketeers is a new series which started on  BBC on Sunday 19th January at 9.00pm .

The locals scamper into doorways as four handsome young swashbucklers stride through their midst. In the French capital during the reign of Louis XIII, law and order is more a dream than a reality. But when Athos, Aramis and Porthos - the three bravest and most distinguished members of the royal guard - and their friend D'Artagnan are around, only the most foolhardy would dare take them on.
Read more about the story here.

Did you know that the author of the book,  Alexandre Dumas was the son of a Mixed Race General who fought in the French army. The casting of Porthos in the BBC version of the story works as a homage to his parentage and race. (Guardian).   Alexandre Dumas is a French writer know for writing The Three Musketeers and other historical novels of high adventure. His books have been translated into nearly 100 languages making him one of the most widely read French authors in history. Some of his other novels include The Count of Monte Cristo, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne just to name a few.   The Independent  

click here to purchase

Alexandre Dumas senior pictured on the left was  was born in 1762 in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti). It was not an auspicious start. Dumas was a "batard" - the product of a relationship between his aristocratic French father, Marquis Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, and a freed slave, Marie-Cesette Dumas. (Her surname, meaning "of the farm", was bestowed on her because managing a sugar plantation was her occupation as a freewoman.)

This book review from The Guardian highlights the work of author Tom Reiss who unearthed the true story behind Alexandre Dumas's hidden ethnicity. The book was winner of the Pulitzer Prixe for Biography 2013.  Tom Reiss' tells a long-hidden story that sheds light on racism and the damage it does. And, although this time his research was conducted chiefly in rural France, it had its share of thrills. Reiss persuaded a French small-town official to blow open a municipal library's safe when the librarian – the only person knowing the combination – suddenly died.

Friday, 24 January 2014

The Thoughts and Feelings of a Mixed Race Child

I love this display put together by Layla who works in a school in Bristol.  As the mother of a mixed race child she was keen to ensure that the display for the school hall reflected  a mix of children.

She hoped the display would bring an everyday knowledge and understanding of the world we all share. She said 'I have used photos of our children's hands to make this whole circle to symbolise the Jamaican Moto "out of many one people". There are two faces made up of different parts of each child's face to  show we are whole though we may be of another race or culture or mixed race heritage. She also added a poem:

The Thoughts and Feelings of a Mixed Race Child :-                                                           
Those children say you can't be my mum as you are white and I am black! They ask me where I came from and when I'm going back. Go back ? Why do they think I don't belong here ? What have I ever done wrong?

I'm told to stand up to these bullies and to be strong.

Who am I then why don't I look like you?  I'm the odd one out, to be told that feels me with doubt.

You show me photos of my dad I look like him I have his eyes and his hair he's just like me I can not help but stare.

You read me books that have children in that look like me though where are they in real life ?

You brush my hair everyday in the same style as you don't know how to care for it. I have to go to a special place to have it done it takes hours it's not much fun.

 I say I wish my hair was like yours,I wish I was white like you mummy.

You say my angel you are beautiful in every way, why would you wish that away? Look at your hair full of life like you it bounces without a care.

Be proud of who you are and where you are from as you are you, so to be anyone else would be wrong.

She also said that she 'added Nelson Mandela along with one of his famous quotes for he has made history. From a young age I was taught from my parents who he was,so to have him on my display was very important to me and to keep his life alive and to pass this knowledge on. There is a photograph of two hands making a heart shape, this is just so subtle though says a lot. I feel that having this display up in our school brings a little knowledge without saying too much, it's there not to make a big deal of but to be part of our everyday lives and bring a little piece of the world we live in into our school'.

Layla Jenkins

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Introducing Chilli Melon - Online Greetings Cards

Chilli Melon is a new online  greeting cards company.  Their cards depict a racial mix of people and  families and can also be personalised to fit differing cultures and age groups so that they reflect the background and personalities of the  people that they are designed for.

Company Founders, husband and wife team, Ricky Patel and Syreeta Stewart are both British born - but also have Indian and Caribbean heritage. Growing up in Britain, both felt there was a gap in the market for modern greeting cards that embraced their experience as 1st generation Britons. However, as Ricky points out 'In today's market it is no longer a niche just to create cards for the ethnic market, instead today's multicultural Britain is trendy and current, therefore we have created our cards with this in mind. People embrace both their British roots and their parent’s heritage – creating an integrated society. This involves many things - from jokes between generations to their sense of style. We wanted to bring all of these influences together in a contemporary and fun way.'

However, there were two main events that convinced the couple that there were several gaps in the market that had not yet been filled. The first was when they came to search for wedding invitations for their own wedding. 'Being a mixed race couple, we realised that there were no greeting cards and invites out there for us in the UK' Syreeta explains. 'This was something a lot of our friends were also experiencing, so we knew there was a UK demand for greeting cards that were both contemporary and cultural'. The London Olympics also made the pair realise how few greeting cards there were to reflect this growing diversity in Britain. 'The opening ceremony of the Olympics was such a diverse event. It included many cultures - black, Asian and mixed race performers' states Ricky. 'Yet we thought, there is nothing out there that represents this type Britain?' Hence, Chilli Melon was born.

 Chilli Melon is a unique venture, as not only does it fill several gaps in the market, it allows online users to personalise cards themselves, through a simple step by step process. 'We have greeting cards where the user can add their favourite photo to, as well as adding their loved ones names. A personalised card with a name plus a photo makes our cards that extra bit special.' The cards also stay true to embracing all aspects of living in a multicultural society. 'Our core value is 'Celebrating You' says Syreeta. 'Our greeting cards will make the recipient feel like they are being celebrated for their uniqueness and diversity. We want our cards to make them laugh, feel proud and appreciated.'   

So, why not personalise, post and print your card all in a few clicks?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Participants for Mixed Race Photography Exhibition in Birmingham Wanted

The exhibition which celebrates mixed race families in the Erdington area of Birmingham,  is the brain child of  Jade Aston who is the mother of a mixed race daughter.

She was inspired to organise it as a reaction to negative comments she read online about mixed race families in the Erdington area. Rather than being upset, she decided to channel her energies into doing something positive to celebrate the mixed race population in the area.

She is holding a photography session on Saturday 1st February at Erdington library community hall. All mixed race families, no matter how large or small, are welcome to come along to take part.  Participants will have their photographs taken by a professional photographer and will be invited to share what being part of a mixed race family means to them.

The photographs will form part of an exhibition that will run at Erdington library throughout March. As well as the photographs there will be details about the achievements of famous mixed race Britons and resources for families including library books that might be particularly appropriate for mixed race children.

If you or someone you know would like to take part, please contact Jade via e-mail or by phone on 07957 183 694.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Mixed Race, Walthamstow, London E17

"MixedRace17" is an E17 Art Trail photography project which aims to document the experiences of Walthamstow residents who have mixed race parentage.

If you, or someone you know, is mixed race & lives in Walthamstow, you/ they can take part in the E17 Art Trail in 2014.  MixedRace17 wants to document the individual and collective experiences, challenges & stories of what it is like being of mixed race/colour/culture & heritage.

Fabien is a local photographer, He originally trained as a graphic designer, at first with Central St Martin's, then at Kent Institute of Art & Design with a First degree in Visual Communication. His real love has always been the photographing of stolen moments between people and the places in which they belong.

Born in Milan, raised in Stuttgart, Paris, Tehran, Austria & Singapore, his childhood experiences have been pretty much as an outside observer of culture, people and places.

Inheriting a brown leather-clad vintage Russian Lubitel camera when his dad died several years ago, his self-taught photography has evolved to become a quiet way of engaging with his sense of identity. It is only recently, thanks to Facebook and Flickr, that he started to show friends and family his collection of images which he accumulated through the years.

He has taken part in the E17 Art Trail for the past few years and is now involved as part of a local collective of photographers called Image17.  Having taken part in the Art Trail over the past 5 years, Fabien would like to interview, document & photograph residents who are of two or more race, colour & heritage like himself. The images and stories will form an exhibition in May/June 2014 as part of the E17 Art Trail in Walthamstow.

Participants have to be willing to have their portrait taken in their own home, See some of Fabien's previous photography work on If you'd like to take part or find out more about the new project, please contact him by either leaving a message on this group wall,or  private message him direct or tweet @MixedRace17 if you are on Twitter or e-mail him at