July 3, 2012
'Not So Black and White'
Alexis Wilson's memoir, Not So Black and White, is officially out and available.
The Beat spoke with the longtime dancer/actress (in Columbus she is perhaps more well-know as the wife of Columbus Jazz Orchestra music director Byron Stripling) last week about her book.
She said the book was a long time in germination and development, the seed planted in 1994 just following her father's death. She told us the book started out as his story but evenetually became the story of "growing up with my father and that unique upbringing."
A brief bio is here, but it is the more what Wilson called "difficult chunky bits" that make the tale especially compelling. Born to a bi-racial couple (her father an African-American Broadway choreographer and her mother a white Dutch ballerina), her mother gave Alexis and her brother Parker over to her father when her parents divorced.
"She disappeared from our lives," Wilson said.
She was raised then in New York City by her father and his partner, Chip Garnett, a unique situation complicated by her age (she was entering her teens) and her feelings of loss and abandonment.
"All of that confusion and anger was directed at Chip," she admitted.
"In the end, though, it's a story of family and love," Wilson said. "It's a celebration of difference, that the concept of family might not always be what we are expecting. But it was mine, and I had a lot of love behind me."
"Regardless of all the confusion and anger I had growing up, the flip side is all of the wonderful memories."
The tag to the story is Wilson's continued hope that she will resolve with her mother, still absent from her life, for the sake of her own children.