New Book: “I Am Mixed” by Garcelle Beauvais and Sebastian A. Jones


In “Garcelle Beauvais: ‘Diversity should be celebrated’” Davina Hamilton (The Voice) writes about why Haitian-American Hollywood actress Garcelle Beauvais and author Sebastian A. Jones paired up to write the new children’s book, I Am Mixed (illustrated by James C. Webster): to recognize children of dual heritage and help them understand that they need not choose sides.

Too dark to be white, too light to be black. It’s just one of the negative cliché’s history has leveled at mixed race people, reminding them they don’t ‘belong’ to either side. On the other hand, with the well-known ‘one drop’ rule causing many to determine that those with one drop of black blood is black – think Barack Obama, who is widely celebrated as America’s first black president – it’s equally common for people with only one black parent to be referred to as such.

But according to Garcelle Beauvais, mixed race people shouldn’t have to “choose” one side over the other. The actress turned author, who recently co-wrote the new children’s book I Am Mixed with author Sebastian A. Jones, believes that people of mixed heritage should be allowed to celebrate all elements of their culture. Reflecting on the inspiration for her book venture, Beauvais, who has six-year-old mixed race twin sons, Jax and Jaid with her former husband Mike Nilon, says she wanted to fill what she believed to be a void in the children’s book market.

“My boys were the catalyst for the book, because I couldn’t find any books with pictures of children that looked like them, or that celebrated being diverse,” says the Haitian-born actress, whose film credits include Coming to America and White House Down. “After meeting [co-author] Seb – and finding out that he was a publisher – I felt that writing a book was something I needed to follow through with and I’m so glad I did.”

Beauvais and Jones had a chance meeting two years ago, when Beauvais’ sons and Jones’ little boy began playing together in the park. And with Jones’ son also being of mixed heritage, the pair found common ground on which to start their joint literary journey.

Jones, who was born in England to an Anglo-Indian mother and an English father, also believes that diversity should be celebrated. “I’m mixed and I grew up in Surrey, in a place called Kingswood,” says the author, who moved to America at the age of 18. “I grew up in a predominantly white area and I guess being mixed had a profound impact on my interests and my desire to explore various cultures.”

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