I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be a Mixed and be Creative. Both those words get thrown around a lot. But are only interpreted in one way. To be Mixed is to be a person of 2 or more racial categories. And to be creative means you’re involved in the arts somehow. Usually some type of media, but maybe a writer or a painter. But there’s so much more to these two concepts that have a more universal application. We take these experiences of being Mixed and/or being creative and apply them to the world at large.
So today, I’d like to examine what I think it means to be a Mixed Creative.
Human nature makes us separate ourselves into groups. Tribes, nations, and teams are all simple expressions of the need to belong to a group where achieve that sense of belonging. Being Mixed in America comes with a societal pressure that you don’t really to one particular group. You are allowed one foot in, but you’re also on the outside.
But the reality is that being Mixed gives us exposure to multiple facets of different cultures. We can draw on these experiences to make more informed decisions and better observations. The goal of every human being is to broaden their horizons. And being Mixed is the acknowledgement that a diverse experience only makes us better. We know that one isn’t better than the other. It’s the combination that makes you, the individual, more capable.
We admire people who have great experiences and a variety of skills. Think of the 2 sport athlete, the musician who can play multiple instruments, or the CEO who can fulfill multiple roles in a company. These are people who are always thinking of what they can add to their repertoire.
Everyone, in their own way, can identify with a Mixed experience. Whether it’s a new job, school or even city – Most of us have gone into a new environment and not quite felt like we belong. But eventually, if we stay open, we find our way and the people we can connect to. Even though our origins may differ slightly.
And that, in essence, is what being Mixed really is.
Creativity is a very elusive buzz word. We think creativity is reserved for only a select set of people with divinely gifted skills in specific artistic disciplines. How many times have you heard, (or maybe even said), “Oh, I’m not very creative.” What that really means is that you’re not skilled in a particular artistic discipline.
Creativity is, at its core, a way to solve problems. Films, books, and drawings are simply ways to look at the world and try to make sense of it. To help us solve the problem of our own consciousness. As children, we’re all creative because we just try to learn and understand what’s happening around us. And as we get older and gain more knowledge. Many of us begin to let that go.
But creativity comes in all manner of disciplines that aren’t necessarily artistic in a classical sense. Human beings are, in general, creative beings. It’s our creativity in trying to find better ways to live that brought us the world we know today. A mathematician is creative, a business owner is creative, a construction worker is creative. Creativity is finding new ways to look at something we encounter every day.
Art is simply creativity in its purest form. Because it has no rules other than the ones that you make. As its purpose is to inspire first, and monetize later.
The Mixed Creative
So what does it mean then, to be a Mixed Creative. For me, it means tapping into all aspects of my background and abilities to try and make sense of our place inworld. I’m multiracial, mixed Black and White, who grew up in both America and Europe. I’ve seen how different people think, talk and act. I use empathy through the process of filmmaking in order to craft different characters. try to see what makes them who they are. And Those mixtures of culture in family can be used to highlight both the honorable and dark parts of a person.
Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a great example of this. Peele is from a biracial background – his mother is White and father his Black. His mother is descended from a colonial family and you can see how he drew from some of that history and experience during the movie. I’m curious what actual family gatherings were like on his mother’s side when the brown part of the family showed up. I’m imaging an Aunt who is genuinely welcoming, an older Cousin which is awkwardly not trying to say something offensive, and maybe an Uncle you should just avoid.
Being a Mixed creative means you are also multi-skilled. You’ve worked in multiple creative disciplines in an effort to make your work even better. I remember working on a feature film my second year out of school. The director was working with an actor on a scene and looked at the monitor so he could see the shot. It didn’t look the way he wanted and the Cinematographer was nowhere to be found. So he grabbed a light, a stand, a loose pair of blinds, and proceeded to make the shadows he wanted to appear across the actor’s face.
“That’s what 20 years of experience can do.” The guy who hired me said while standing behind as we both looked on in awe.
And here, 20 years later, after working in multiple filmmaking disciplines, I’m able to do similar types of things. Because I decided to embody the creed of a Mixed Creative:
Take what you have, merge it together, and always look to grow.
There’s so many of us that can be Mixed Creatives.