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Our newest feature to the Behind the Screen series is author:
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Ray Studevent was born in 1967 in Washington, D.C. during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. His biological parents—a light-skinned alcoholic Black man with a violent streak and a White woman who was a slave to her heroin addiction—abandoned him at age five leaving him orphaned and destitute. As if his life wasn’t tragic enough, Ray did not look like the run-of-the-mill mocha complexioned bi-racial child that were a dime a dozen back in that era. He was fair-skinned with straight hair and piercing blue eyes which made him look like the White American kid living next door. Salvation came to him by way of his Black uncle and aunt who swooped in and took him to live with them in their all-Black neighborhood. But Ray’s newfound
happiness came to a crashing halt when two years later, his uncle—the man he had come to idolize as a father and hero—dropped dead right before his very eyes. Instead of turning the other cheek, his aunt by marriage chose to adopt and raise him in the mean streets of Washington, D.C. at a time when it was known as Chocolate City. Ray’s life became quite interesting, not to mention dangerous, as a “White” Negro living in the blackest city in America and being raised by a southern Black woman who grew up in Mississippi during the segregated Jim Crow era.