By Ryan Velez
From her time as an actress on Suits to her upcoming royal wedding, good luck reading any news without hearing about Meghan Markle lately. Black Enterprise takes a different stance regarding the unlikely royal’s life, covering her entrepreneurial endeavors and life as a mixed woman.
She is the product of a white father and Black mother—a social worker who lives in the mostly African American L.A. suburb of View Park-Windsor Hills (incidentally, one of the wealthiest Black suburbs in the country). Along with her career as an actress and humanitarian, she also ran a lifestyle and wellness site; thetig.com. The site is down currently, but web archives give a bit of a look into Markle’s mindset and even her personal life. Many of the pieces are lighter fare, including interviews with figures like Serena Williams and health articles, but one, “More Than an Other,” published March 2, 2016, covers being biracial:
“What are you?’ A question I get asked every week of my life, often every day. ‘Well,’ I say, as I begin the verbal dance I know all too well. ‘I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.’ A mouthful, yes, but one that paints a pretty solid picture of who I am. But here’s what happens: they smile and nod politely, maybe even chuckle, before getting to their point, ‘Right, but what are you? Where are your parents from?’ I knew it was coming, I always do. While I could say Pennsylvania and Ohio, and continue this proverbial two-step, I instead give them what they’re after: ‘My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white.’
To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating. When I was asked by ELLE to share my story, I’ll be honest, I was scared. It’s easy to talk about which make-up I prefer, my favorite scene I’ve filmed, the rigmarole of ‘a day in the life’ and how much green juice I consume before a requisite Pilates class. And while I have dipped my toes into this on thetig.com, sharing small vignettes of my experiences as a biracial woman, today I am choosing to be braver, to go a bit deeper, and to share a much larger picture of that with you.”
Markle sums up her feelings as, “Just as black and white, when mixed, make grey, in many ways that’s what it did to my self-identity: it created a murky area of who I was, a haze around how people connected with me. I was grey. And who wants to be this indifferent color, devoid of depth and stuck in the middle?” Much of the scrutiny surrounding her lately covers the fact that she is a woman of color marrying into the royal family, but it’s important to note there’s far more about her than just her ethnic background.