With humor and sensitivity, filmmaker and comedian W. Kamau Bell tackles the joys and challenges of growing up mixed-race through conversations with kids and families in the San Francisco Bay Area, including his own. Recognizing that his children, born to a Black father and White mother, and growing up in a country still deeply divided by race, would have very different experiences in America than he and his wife did, embarks on a journey of discovery in his family’s Bay Area community. In a series of playful and impactful conversations, Bell explores how these young people navigate issues of identity in a world that can ask them to pick a side and thoughtful exchanges with families reveal the many joys and complexities of what it means to raise multiracial children.
In his trademark fashion, Bell maintains a serious focus while keeping the discussions lively and accessible, proving along the way that children are more than capable of understanding and furthering complex conversations about race, culture, and identity.
- Sami (10) is Black and White and looks up to Alicia Keys and Juno, Sami’s sister (7), will tell you why it’s the best to be a middle child.
- Myles (11) is Black and Filipino-American, likes to play basketball, and helps his lola (grandmother) compete in a Filipino cook off.
- Presley (10) is White and Filipino-American. She has her own punk band and occasionally rides around San Francisco with her dad belting tunes from his Karaoke motorcycle.
- Kanani (10) is White, Indigenous, and Latina. She and her parents spend every summer with her dad’s tribe in Costa Rica.
- Anisa (11) is Black and Pakistani-British and she considers being Muslim as much a part of her “mix” as race.
- Her friend Mila (10) is Chinese American and Black. She is deeply thoughtful and speaks in the measured tones of a future world leader while her parents discuss the deeper implications of wearing mismatching socks.
- Sumaya (7) is Guinean and Punjabi and has strong opinions about mangoes, dogs, and llamas.
- Carter (13) is Black and Latina and her best friend Nola (13) is Black and White. They both have two moms but very different birth stories.
- Kaylin (16) has two mixed-race parents. She’s part White, part Black, and part Korean.
- Older family members also participate in the discussions including siblings, parents, grandparents, as well as other adults, and professionals invested in these issues.
Directed by W. Kamau Bell; produced by Kelly Rafferty; executive produced by W. Kamau Bell, Geraldine L. Porras, and Amy Schatz. Presented by HBO Documentary Films in association with Get Lifted Film Company. For Get Lifted: executive producers, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, John Legend. For HBO: executive producers, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, and Sara Rodriguez.
Inspired by the film and want to learn more?
Read the official Discussion Guide for 1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed.