Topic

When you meet someone who identifies as biracial, what do you see? An imposter? A person in denial? A person who wants to acknowledge every part of themselves? Someone who wants to name a very specific experience? Or someone longing to place themselves adjacent to whiteness?

A new digital documentary series on Topic, The Loving Generation, conceived by Jezebel founder Anna Holmes, dives headlong into the experiences and insights of the first generation of Americans born after mixed-race partnerships were legalized.

While the complexities of mixed-race and, specifically, black-and-white mixed-race identities have been well-covered, the video series chooses to focus very specifically on the generation of children born to one black parent and one white parent after the landmark 1965 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws around the nation.

A press release about the project calls The Loving Generation the “first series of its kind to train a lens on this particular generation of Americans, many of whom have become recognized leaders in their respective fields.” All the people filmed in the series were born between 1965 and 1985.

The series is directed and produced by Lacey Schwartz (Little White Lie) and Mehret Mandefro, while O.J.: Made in America’s Ezra Edelman serves as the executive producer. Interview subjects include the New York Times’ Nikole Hannah-Jones, novelist Mat Johnson, academic Melissa Harris-Perry and VSB’s own Panama Jackson.

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Panama Jackson (Topic screenshot)

As Hannah-Jones tweeted on the film’s release: “I was very iffy about it all. Believing that to be black in America is to be mixed, I didn’t want to be part of something centering biracial angst. In the end, I trusted Anna [Holmes] and this is beautifully done.”

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The first episode of the four-part series, “Checking Boxes,” released today, delves into the process of self-identifying—how each subject came to terms with defining themselves as “black” or “mixed race” and what that decision means for them.

The Loving Generation will run all Black History Month on Topic with a new episode debuting each Tuesday.