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Photographer Seeks to Document Afro‐Caribbean Gingers

Avatar • Aug 26, 2015
the MC1R series

the MC1R series

London‐based photographer, Michelle Marshall has set out to document people of color who carry the MC1R gene, which is responsible for red hair. Since the MC1R gene is recessive, it requires both parents to be carriers for it to be passed onto children.

The gene is not as prevalent in areas with a lot of sunlight, such as Africa, as the climate does not favor lighter skin. However, the trait still does occur within both the Carribean and Africa due to a history of cultural exchange;

…The red hair and freckles is the likely result of the historical interactions between Europeans and Africans in the formation of the Caribbean populations—most notably with Brits, as the Spanish and Portuguese went to South America.

George states: “This might also explain why you occasionally see red hair on a black Caribbean person who has two black parents. By chance alone, it might be that they are both carrying a European mutation which has come together in their child.”

The project, appropriately titled MC1R is meant to challenge existing perceptions of the gene’s natural occurrence. In an e‐mail to the Huffington Post Marshall went into detail on why she chose this project:

I want to stir the perception that most of us have of a ‘ginger’ as a white caucasian individual, potentially of Celtic descent … As we struggle with issues of immigration, discrimination and racial prejudice, Mother Nature, meanwhile, follows its own course, embracing society’s plurality and, in the process, shaking up our perceptions about origins, ethnicity and identity.”

Take a look at the striking images Marshall has captured so far in the project:

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

the MC1R series

What do you think of the MC1R series?

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About Rinny

Texan by birth, Los Angeleno by situation. Lover of Tame Impala and Shoegaze music. Comedian by trade. Macaroni and Cheese connoisseur by appetite.

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frau_doctormaralondonBlueCornMoonAlisonkalexa1 Recent comment authors
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cryssi
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cryssi

Beautiful.…we have a few gingers in my family. I have freckles and brown hair with ginger natural highlights, when I don’t dye it black.

Nina
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Nina

WOW ! They’re all gorgeous !

Elle P.
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Elle P.

These are gorgeous photos. I love seeing the diversity of our culture!

Robin
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Robin

When I was a little kid, back in the early 70s, I was one of the few people of color in my elementary school. I remember being jealous of one of my kindergarten classmates, a white redheaded boy. I thought his freckles were beautiful, and I wished I had them—not out of self hatred (I didn’t hate my skin color at all), but more out of fascination. Then one day he told me he loved my brown skin and wished he had it, for the same reason I wanted his freckles. Awww. One of my older cousins is a freckled… Read more »

Amma Mama
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Such an original concept. Beautiful people and stunning photos.

allthingsammamama.com

Dee Hines
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Dee Hines

My great grandmother was an african american ginger but she was teased so much that she dyed it light brown for almost her entire life. Only a few pictures show her with her natural color when she was much younger.

LondonGirl
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LondonGirl

I grew up in the Caribbean for part of my life and people with red hair and freckles while usual are fairly common. My pediatrician looked just like the first girl. I remember complimenting her as a little girl (I’ve always loved red hair) and she told me she was mercilessly teased as a child for her red hair and freckles. The same is true for red‐headed people in the UK where I live now and I just don’t understand it as I think it looks so stunning!

The Darling Kinkshamer
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The Darling Kinkshamer

My aunt is a Black American with red hair, she’s lovely.

NathanielAdamTobiasC
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NathanielAdamTobiasC

Beautiful!

maralondon
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maralondon

My grandmother is light skinned with freckles but she doesn’t have ginger hair. However, I grew up with a boy who had red hair and as I have got older have come across more and more black children and adults with red hair and freckles.

Mitchelle
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Mitchelle

So let’s start off by saying “ginger” is actually an insult.
I learned this in UK when visiting and for the most part they are slightly “hated” just like the gypsies. My sister (black) gave me the real deal since she loves there. It a tad difficult for her being black in the UK at times.

kalexa1
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kalexa1

It’s not actually an insult to say someone’s ginger. That’s just stating a fact. However, having said that, comedians in the last decade or so have found it a ‘safe’ comedy topic to poke fun at the low‐popularity status and undesirability of being ginger‐haired. Ginger kids have historically often been bullied at school or marginalised (one of my white friends at school experienced this). Take it from another UK resident, ‘ginger’ is not an insult… just not a lauded trait amongst mainstream (read white) society. Disturbing isn’t it, how they reject & marginalise even their OWN ‘different people’ … what… Read more »

maralondon
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maralondon

Well yes. I think red haired is more respectful but even worse is carrot top. I think, and this is from the White British or European perspective, red heads are deemed less attractive than brunettes or blondes and particularly if you they have pale skin with freckles. Hence the treatment a lot of them receive. Now a black person with red hair is a different thing all together. I believe they are more likely to be the subject of curiosity since red heads are usually associated with being European or more specifically Scottish or Irish. How can you slightly hate… Read more »

JuneAnn McDonald
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JuneAnn McDonald

Multiethnic People

Meah
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Meah

This is awesome! I’ve always thought black people with red hair was so beautiful. And we should learn to embrace their beauty the same way we embrace the beauty of our black brothers and sisters

Alison
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Alison

My grandmother was a red headed caribbean person with blue eyes. I always wished I’d inherited her colouring.

BlueCornMoon
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BlueCornMoon

My late mom ( not Afro Caribbean) had bright orange red hair when she was a kid but then it turned dark brown as she grew up. She wasn’t real light like these folks, just a light brown with light honey brown eyes. Her brother didn’t get red hair or light eyes at all but his hair was always dark brown . Mom said that their grandpop was white with bright red hair & green eyes.Mom said she was teased & picked on by some blacks,including some relatives because she was the only redhead. Relatives tried dyeing it dark with… Read more »

12321
Guest
12321

This “project” and article is so silly. Anyone who didn’t know about the gene that causes red hair could have googled it. Anyone who STILL thinks Black people are monolithic can kick rocks. This just seems like another way of gassing light skinned people with “non‐black features”. Especially in the comments.

CC
Guest
CC

As a child my hair would always turn red. Especially in the summer, because I would spend endless hours outside. As I have gotten older my hair turns a muddy brown (not cute). I actually wear wigs and braids quite a bit so my hair doesn’t see much sun anymore. I also dye it black. This makes me curious if my hair would turn red again. Once my natural hair is grown into the FRO of my dreams I hope to find out.

Mood Indigo
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Mood Indigo

These photos are all incredibly beautiful! like seriously! I live in the UK and i’m brown skin west indian and i cannot say that it is particularly difficult being a black person here. I’m sad to hear that this is your sister’s experience. I wish her all the best!

Yeah, I said it...
Guest
Yeah, I said it...

Beautiful photos. Interesting gloss over of how the enslavement era and the morally deplete behavior of those who profited from the inhumane enterprises
lead to red hair ending up in the African gene pools in the first place.

frau_doctor
Guest
frau_doctor

Sometimes, yes, but more so in the Southeast. The Caribbean is where the Irish slaves were sent too. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/27/1265498/-The-slaves-that-time-forgot Some of the gene inheritance was interrelationships between enslaved peoples. Then there is the northern coast of South America connection (cf. Brazil, Guyana) where the owners had children with black African slaves and legitimized them as heirs (the environment being harsher than further north, there were frequently no other legitimate heirs. The gene is so widespread in the Caribbean, especially Barbados, that it is difficult to put it all down to rape. It is not widespread anywhere else but places where… Read more »

Emmeaki
Guest
Emmeaki

Me too! I knew quite a few black redheads growing up and thought their complexion was so cool. i have to dye my hair to get it that color!

kia
Guest
kia

my grandma is an african woman who had red hair growing up but it’s darkened as she’s gotten older. she still has her face full of freckles tho

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