Black Sheep: A Blue-Eyed Negro Speaks of Abandonment, Belonging, Racism, and Redemption
With an afterword by My Haley, PhD, widow of Alex Haley, famed author of Roots and Malcolm X
Ray Studevent walked hesitantly toward the door of the nursing home and prayed that his Momma, now in the throes of dementia, would recognize him. Surely, the blue eyes would give him away. The blue eyes that his Momma originally equated with hatred and brutality.
White on the outside, Black on the inside, Ray grew up on the eastern side of the Anacostia River, the Blackest part of the Blackest city in America not long after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the D.C. race riots. There were guidelines if you were Black; different rules if you were White; but only mixed messages for mixed-race children like Ray, who had to fight for acceptance and struggle to find his identity.
Black Sheep: A Blue-Eyed Negro Speaks of Abandonment, Belonging, Racism, and Redemption is the unforgettable true story of Ray’s struggles as a mixed-race boy learning to fight the ghosts of his past to find trust and love. Abandoned by his White, heroin-addicted mother and Black, violently alcoholic father, Ray found salvation at age 5 when he was adopted into a loving, stable home by his father’s uncle Calvin and his wife, Lemell. But that is just the beginning of the story.
Lemell is suddenly widowed and must raise Ray and her two daughters as a single mother in Chocolate City. Each time she looks into Ray’s blue eyes, she sees the Klansmen who tormented her family as she grew up in segregated Mississippi.
Ray and Lemell must navigate the minefields of society’s outward racial tensions while inwardly, Lemell does her best to overlook her emotional scars and suppress her justifiable resentment toward White people when she looks into Ray’s blue eyes.
Black Sheep takes readers on an emotional journey and reveals universal truths through faith and great humor. It is a search for who we are, where we fit and who we can become. Imagine a book where The Notebook meets The Help.
About the Author
Ray “Ben” Studevent was a mixed-race child whose unique look led him to fight a racial identity crisis his entire life. Each time he entered a room, he had to decide whether it was better to be Black or White. His personal and career journeys ebbed and flowed, taking him to prison, fatherhood and gigs in comedy clubs, modeling and stock-market research. In all these varied experiences, he realized that race played a critical role. Visit his website at: raystudevent.com.
Publisher: HCI Books
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Available wherever books are sold