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Bi-racial identity focus at Loving Day film screening


Today marks the 51stanniversary of the Loving vs Virginia case which legalized interracial marriage. Ebony Road Players, the Grand Rapids-based black theater company is holding a week-long celebration. For WGVU’s Mutually Inclusive, Mariano Avila went to last night’s event. 

At Celebration North, a crowd of about 200 fill a theater to watch the 2015 film “Little White Lie” about a Jewish woman from Brooklyn who discovers she’s half black in her teens. The film ends and the director, Lacey Schwartz takes questions. My question is about how this screening, of the hundreds she’s done, is different.

“What Ebony Road players is doing around the Loving Day Celebration I think makes it unique because it also puts it in a setting that is larger than just the film itself. Because I do go and do a lot of one-off screenings but it’s actually here being partnered as a larger conversation around different kinds of works.”

The film digs deep into a story about lies and family secrets, but also into a the discovery and development of a complex identity. I won’t give spoilers, but I did ask Schwartz what advise she has for folks at the start of their journey into identity. 

“Put yourself around a lot of different people and go through the exploratory process. Don’t try to figure it out all at one moment.”

The screening was part of a broader celebration Ebony Road Players which founder Edye Evans Hyde, says Saturday at Rosa Parks Circle starting at 4 will feature a dance party. 

“Where we’re going to have a picnic and hiphop dance concert.” 

The Loving Day Celebration ends at Wealthy Theater on Sunday with a play called Neither There Nor Herewhich starts at 3 p.m.


Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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