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Love Lesson: Be open to loving outside of your norm.

Christelyn Karazin is a writer, activist, mom to four, and a wife. Christelyn was a single mom when she met and married her husband, who happens to be white. As the founder and tribal leader of the popular blog BeyondBlackWhite.com, she is the go-to expert when it comes to black women and interracial relationships. Her advice guide is called “Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed.” This outspoken woman always addresses her detractors head-on.

Christelyn’s latest project, the web series “Swirlr,” is being billed as the first interracial dating reality show. Watch the very first episode HERE and then dive into to enjoy all eight episodes of Season One. Christelyn is the dynamic host of the show along with body language expert, Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The Art of Charm.

If you’re looking to get your own “swirl” on, you can do so at Swirlr.com, the interracial dating site affiliated with the show. According to the site, “Swirlr is for singles who choose character above culture and color. The Swirlr dating community helps expand your dating pool, by bringing together people who aren’t constrained by race or culture on the road to love.”

Congrats on the show. Tell us all about “Swirlr.”

What’s so great about it is it’s the only show that you don’t have to hold your breath for the minorities to get voted off. They are the show.  They’re the center focus so I’m really excited about that and people are really excited about it too.  I’m just getting a lot of “finallys” and “at lasts” and “woo-hoo!” “Swirlr” is the brainchild of Sean Miles and Rob Thompson. Shawn Miles was the producer for “Ice Loves Coco.” He had been pitching an interracial relationships show. What he found was that the networks were really afraid to touch it. Some of the networks said, “Oh, it’s 2014 we don’t need a show like that.”  I’m like, really? Who called Kanye West what recently? I mean [the guy] called Kim Kardashian an “n lover.”  The fact of the matter is even if you carry that argument over, dating shows have been around forever and dating shows work no matter what the combination.

Why do you think we watch season after season of “The Bachelor”? Even though it’s a train wreck people tune in for it. People like dating shows so why not a multiracial, multicultural dating show? Do only white people watch dating shows?  No.

Did they bring this concept to you?

It was serendipity because the other executive producer is Rob Thompson who runs interracial dating sites like AfroRomance and InterracialDating.  He had in his mind that he wanted a show produced because he wants to just really encourage people to be different and sort of embrace who we are in the world, that diversity is causing this melting pot. It was just kind of like we just found each other and the stars aligned.

Reading from your press release: “The series begin with our swirling expert Christelyn Karazin and Jordan Harbinger interviewing single clients who are looking to expand their dating options for their quest in love.  Based on personality and potential compatibility, Christelyn and Jordan choose three potential matches.  Clients then interact with the three initially chose candidates and select one potential match for a date that will lead to love.” It sounds like so much fun.

Yes it is. I mean, what is so great about it is that when you get a whole bunch of different personalities and a whole bunch of people from different walks of life you tend to get some surprising results. I can’t really get into detail but it gets really dramatic at a few points.

I think that humanizes the whole experience because people say crazy, wacky, embarrassing, funny, weird things on dates period.  No matter what the situation is.

We’re really excited, we’re hoping we can get the word out as far online as possible. We want to tell these stories.  We want people to feel like their reflection is what they’re seeing on the media.

Interracial Dating Advice

You’re the co-author of a book named “Swirling: How To Date, Mate and Relate: Mixing Race, Culture and Creed” and your very popular blog is called beyondblackwhite.com. Can you please tell us about the book?

It’s the book that I wish I would have read when I started my interracial relationship. I go through all the experiences from the beginning, the first date, and how when things get serious and that awkwardness of the “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” moment when you’re meeting parents that are different race from you. We go to the highs and lows, and the ups and downs, and the sideways of interracial relationships.

My co-author Janice Littlejohn goes into, how do you do it? Where do you find these people? What are my options? The way that the book is formatted is you don’t have to necessarily read it from front to back. You can read the chapter that applies to you at the time.  Janice and I are both magazine writers; we did it in the form of magazine type writing. You can get those small little nuggets of things that you need and come back to it when you want to.  It’s one of those things that you’ll break the spine because you’ll keep going back and forth.

If a Mommynoire reader says, “Hey Chris I’m new to the world of interracial or intercultural, or interfaith dating, or dating across educational lines or class,” what’s your advice?

The first thing that I would tell somebody who’s ready to venture out… I basically would have to find out some details about her.  Like, where does she live? Because where you live is important. Certain parts of the United States aren’t necessarily as open to diverse dating as others. I think that the location is important, her willingness to use social media and the internet to find somebody, and just what her comfort level is.

Has she ever interacted somebody outside of their culture or has there always been an immersion but she just has been hesitant to formulate romantic relationships? There’s a lot of things that go into it, but I think that the bottom line that I would tell somebody who’s interested is just go for it. Just do it. What’ the worst that could happen? Dating is hard anyway, dating within your race is hard.  You just have to go for it and understand that at their core men are men. It’s very simple, we’re all human.

Our audience is black women, many of whom have been told repeatedly that they are undesirable, or less desirable, or that they’re destined to die alone, that there aren’t any good men particularly for them. What are your thoughts around that?

I would tell them that they have been bamboozled, lied to. Sold a bill of goods. I mean remember in “Malcolm X” the speech where he said, “You all have been lied to”?  That’s what I would say because I would tell you that there are men of all races and cultures who celebrate black beauty and love dark skin, and love the coils of our hair. And for them black is black, no hue is more superior than the other. So it doesn’t matter if you’re ochre or if you’re cafe au lait. For them black is black. There’s not one that’s more put on a pedestal than the other.

The fact of the matter is I can say for sure that globally colorism is a big problem. There’s a color hierarchy. I can speak to this because I am part of the group in African-American culture where the majority of black women are medium brown to dark are put in second class status over women who are lighter skinned. You almost just assume that you got to wait your turn because the girl who has more “exotic features” is going to be the one chosen for a spot with the black men.

I find that when I tell black women this and then I get the men on the blog, the non-black men, the men of all different races and even the black men say, “I love dark-skinned women. I love black women, they’re beautiful to me.”  That is empowering to know that your beauty is celebrated and all of a sudden the options that someone lied to you and told you that you didn’t have all of a sudden the whole world is open to you.  That’s completely empowering to me.

It is empowering.

Because you just gave a women who thought she didn’t have any choices, all the choices in the world.

Find Christelyn Karazin and her hot, new web TV show “Swirlr” at Swirlr.com and on the YouTube channel of the same name. 

Catch up on Abiola’s Love Class

 Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at Abiola’s Love University. Her upcoming advice guide is named “The Official Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love.” Abiola is also the creator of the “Love Body Spirit Detox” Program. Tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.

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