Mar 6, 2016
Ep. 55: Liana Maneese was born in 1984 in Goiânia, Goiás Brazil. She was adopted when she was 1 and aised in a Black community in Pittsburgh PA by two White Parents.
Growing up, she saw herself only as adopted and not as an orphan. She finally had to face the reality that in order to be found, you have to first be lost. Without any Afro-Latino community to latch onto, her voice and identity were lost in translation in a world that did not look like her, talk like her, or think like her. This is when the quest for true liberation started, when she began to acknowledge who she was and to begin the slow but crucial process of loving herself. She knew that she needed to redirect her efforts to telling her own story and recovering her own voice.
To Liana, being Afro-Brazilian testifies to the enormous resistance of the African slaves that had to endure and overcome a cultural force that meant to strip them of their identity, heritage, and humanity. She seeks to use her work as an act of her own resistance by refusing to be voiceless in a larger conversation on race in the U.S. as well as right here in Pittsburgh. Her life speaks to the suffering that displacement, poverty, and identity politics can cause.
At the age of 15, Liana started RedTape Productions, now known
as RedTape Design, of Pittsburgh, with her partners Michael Tanzer
and Darby Kaighin-Shields. With their love of hip hop as its basis,
RedTape engaged, motivated and inspired thousands of young people.
Through this philosophy of hip hop and activism, RedTape helped
provoke political, cultural, and social awareness by hosting events
for some of the most influential artists of the day. Some of the
notable names include Atmosphere, Virtuoso, and J-Live. RedTape was
also hired as Pittsburgh’s crew for MTV’s Rock The Vote! in 2000
when she was still in high school and not yet old enough to
Maneese went on to attend college at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, in Downtown Los Angeles, and continued to cultivate her diverse interests by working on urban development projects in downtown LA. After graduating with honors from FIDM, she became the Project Manager for a branding firm at Hollywood’s own Starmen Design Group. She served as a Service Leader for an educational and cultural enrichment program, and was a Guyasuta Fellow on Public Policy in 2010. In addition Maneese dedicated 1900+ hours of her time to serving her community that same year and continues to donate 800+ hours every year. During this time she also completed a degree in Cultural Studies from Chatham University and graduated with honors and recently became one of Pittsburgh's FAB 40 in 2012.
Currently, she is working on Adopting Identity, which facilitates conversations on race, gender and class intersectionality with those who may not have been exposed to or had a safe space to explore their own questions. Our intentions are to give people the language and compassion to love each other and not simply seek to tolerate those different than us. Specifically, our goal is to give voice to adoptees’ and biracial people and facilitate the conversations necessary to support their families and communities. Www.adoptingidentity.com
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Intro and Outro Music is Funkorama by Kevin MacLeod
Licensed under Creative Commons - By Attribution 3.0