Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Race & Identity: Actress Merle Oberon, Prince and Jennifer Beals

I was doing some research and decided to google the beautiful and elusive Actress, Merle Oberon -and the following is one of the many interesting things I found out about her. It would seem Race & Identity is still a sore subject for some folks [keep reading -its an eye opener].....xx

Actress Merle Oberon, -insecurities and lies
Actress Merle Oberon, above, was an Academy Award nominated actress who appeared in several hit films with her most memorable being "Wuthering Heights." Oberon's father was British and her mother was East Indian. During her time as a film star, Oberon went to great lengths to disguise her mixed-race (Indian) background and when her dark-skinned mother moved in with her, she masqueraded as Oberon's maid.

In 1929, she met a former actor who claimed he could introduce her to Rex Ingram of Victorine Studios. Merle jumped at the offer and decided to follow the man to the studios in France. However, when he saw Merle's dark mother one night at her apartment and realized Merle was mixed-race, he secretly decided to end the relationship. After packing all their belongings and moving to France, Merle and her mother found that their supposed benefactor had dodged them.

Despite this, Oberon still became successful and married a very rich man who did everything in his power to erase her past which indicated she was of mixed race.
Merle suffered even further damage to her complexion in 1940 from a combination of cosmetic poisoning and an allergic reaction to sulfa drugs (skin bleachers). She was sent to a skin specialist in New York City, where she underwent several dermabrasion procedures. The results, however, were only partially successful; without makeup, one could see noticeable pitting and indentation of her skin.

Her mother died in 1937, and in 1949 Oberon commissioned paintings of her mother from an old photograph, instructing the artist to lighten her mother's complexion. The paintings would hang in all her homes until her death in 1979.

[Scenes from the megahit FLASHDANCE featuring Jennifer Beals and performed by Irene Cara]…

*Actress Jennifer Beals was born in Chicago, Illinois to Alfred Beals, who owned a grocery store, and Jeanne, an elementary school teacher. Her father was African-American and her mother was Irish. According to Hollywood rumor, after the success of "Flashdance," Beals was the new 'it' girl in town until a Hollywood executive was informed that she was bi-racial. This is an unsubstantiated rumor but Beals' career did come to an abrupt halt after "Flashdance." Beals has never discussed her ethnicity publicly.

*Before the film "Purple Rain," was released, it was revealed that Prince was half-Italian. In the movie, based on his life, he even went so far as to hire a white actress to portray his mother. In real life, Prince's mother (Mattie) is black, as well as his father (John). Prince also has a fully black sister named Tyka, a half-sister named Sharon and two stepbrothers who he has never discussed publicly.

*Tai Babilonia was the first figure skater of partial African-American descent to win U.S. and World titles. She is also part Filipino via her paternal family and part Native American. In the late 70's and early 80's, however, her mixed ethnic ancestry was rarely discussed by the media and it remained hidden until the late 80's.

*Actor Vin Diesel has always refused to reveal his ethnicity and has never admitted to having black blood. Allegedly, he is half-black and half-Italian but you didn't hear it from Diesel. [Credit: http://panachereport.com/LittleKnown.htm]

**Note, Dear all -please goggle the rest if you are not familiar with their names. I only want photos of people I love, admire -respect on my blog [the truth is -you will never see a picture of Vin Diesel on here –I just don’t do that man!!!] ..xx

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