Want to know what it truly means to be Brown in America? Find out in 'Brown Enough' - Albuquerque Journal

Want to know what it truly means to be Brown in America? Find out in ‘Brown Enough’

Actor and author Christopher Rivas with his book “Brown Enough.” (Courtesy of Narrative PR)

Whatever Christopher Rivas sets his mind to, he accomplishes it.

The native New Yorker is an actor, podcaster and author.

Through all the various mediums, he remains a storyteller.

Rivas recently released his latest book, “Brown Enough” on Oct. 11.

The book is a series of investigative essays about what it truly means to be Brown in America.

“The joke is that it’s based on my whole life,” he says. “I got the offer to write the book after the New York Times article came out about modern love. At the time, I really hadn’t thought about a book. I spoke to one agent and she was very patient and helped me craft this thing. She said there was something there.”

Christopher Rivas

Rivas wrote the proposal and got the offer to publish in 2020.

He wants the book to feel like there’s hope in the world.

There are so many times where we have felt underrepresented,” he says. “Questions like, ‘Where do I belong?’ I hop on this and let people know that they do belong.”

Rivas pens raw emotion in the essays and knows he had to be vulnerable to get his point across.

“For better or for worse, it’s based on my life,” he says. “It’s my form of creativity. I believe in honesty and I wanted to be a person who wants to be honest. I didn’t have a problem going to those places. It’s not easy, but I have to tell the truth and that opens doors.”

Over the course of writing, “Brown Enough,” Rivas has learned a lot about storytelling.

He’s taken what he’s learned and is applying it to two of his new projects in the podcasting world.

Rivas has entered into a development deal with SiriusXM’s Stitcher, under which he will be releasing two new podcast shows in mid-late 2022.

The first podcast, “Rubirosa,” is a documentary-style investigation of Porfirio Rubirosa, a Dominican diplomat, race car driver, soldier and polo player who is believed to be the inspiration for the famous character James Bond.

“Rubirosa” is currently streaming new episodes weekly.

The second podcast, also titled “Brown Enough,” will be an interview-style show exploring similar themes addressed in his book and will release immediately following the first podcast.

“I’ve learned about textures and pacing,” he says. “I’ve been living with ‘Rubirosa’ for years and I had to turn into an investigative journalist on this one. We got to go deeper with the subject. Being able to dive into documents has turned me into a better storyteller.”

In 2019, Rivas premiered his play, “The Real James Bond … Was Dominican” at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

“The NHCC was very adamant about having it premiere at the center,” he said in 2019. “Of course, I was honored to collaborate with them on this. This play is something very special to me. It’s been a big part of my life for the last decade or so.”

“Brown Enough” by Christopher Rivas

Rivas says the piece is a guide to love, sex, color, code-switching, white-washing, success, fake-it-till-you-make-it, and the roller coaster of finding one’s true self.

“It’s stunning and equally I’m still learning from it,” he says. “The big thing in all my art, which I pride myself is not about answers. It’s about questions. The audience and I go on a journey together. Most nights, we do a talk back and I consider that part of the show. What I’ve learned is that every single human being on the planet needs to tell their own story, so that no one else can tell it for them.”

Rivas wanted to expand on his book with the podcast because there are so many stories.

“There’s definitely something about this project that is reaching people,” he says. “Brown and Black people coming up to me and telling me their story. There’s a chapter where I cast a spell of self worth where I dedicate this to all the little Brown kids. I see you.”

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