Kayla Briet is a Festival fave! She first performed at Mixed Remixed Festival and brought the audience to its feet. Most recently she appeared as one of the youngest TED Fellows on the TED stage. This amazing and dynamic young woman will once again perform at the Storyteller’s Prize Live Event and speak on the very important roundtable talk The Mixed Race Conversation: Is It a Wrap? at 3:00pm. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.
What are you?
Prairie Band Potawatomi (Native American) + Chinese + Dutch-Indonesian
What is your mixed experience?
multiracial + multicultural
What is the most important thing you want people to know about the mixed experience?
Growing up mixed, it was hard to find my voice because I never felt I was a part of a single community. As a result, I sought to learn the stories of my heritage and culture, and connect them together to rediscover my own; and through art, film, and music, I found my voice.
Do you remember when you first started thinking about the mixed experience? Was it because of a certain moment or event? Please tell us about that.
As a kid, I grew up in a multi-generational home, meaning I lived under the same roof with my parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My mother is Chinese and Dutch Indonesian with immigrant parents, and my father is Ojibwe and an enrolled tribal member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe in northeastern Kansas. One weekend I’d be learning how to fold dumplings. The next weekend I’d be traditional style dancing at a pow wow – immersed in the powerful heartbeats of the drums and singers.
Being surrounded by many cultures was the norm but also a very confusing experience. It was hard to find my voice because I never felt I was enough — never Chinese, native, or Dutch-Indonesian enough. Because I never felt like I belonged to any community, I sought to learn the stories of my heritage and connect them together to rediscover my own. The first mediums I felt gave me a voice was music and film.
What was your experience when you attended the Mixed Remixed Festival before? Why did you want to come back?
The Mixed Remixed Festival invited me to open up the 2015 awards ceremony, which was my first-ever live musical performance in Los Angeles. It was one of the warmest crowds I’ve ever experienced to this date, and I made meaningful and lasting relationships – a truly supportive and loving community. I felt so welcome and was honored to play music again at the 2016 festival. Seeing everyone’s creativity, drive, and honesty inspires me to keep going. Of course, I love coming back time and time again!
What are you looking forward to most at the Festival this year?
I’m looking forward to a day of meaningful discussion and a celebration of arts, culture, comedy during the evening ceremony. We’re gonna laugh, cry, and feel all sorts of emotions. I also can’t wait to reunite with friends and form new friendships!