"The View" co-host Sunny Hostin is opening up about how she was raised to embrace both sides of her biracial identity and how she still gets questions about her ethnic background.
The television legal analyst writes candidly on the topic of race in her new memoir, “I Am These Truths: A Memoir of Identity, Justice, and Living Between Worlds," which is out next Tuesday.
Hostin, whose name Sunny is a shortened version of her birth name, Asunción, grew up in the South Bronx with a Puerto Rican mother and Black father.
"I identify as black and Puerto Rican, or Puerto Rican and black, whichever way those identities tumble from my mouth in any given moment. Afro Latina works as well," Hostin wrote, according to an advanced copy of her memoir obtained by TODAY.
"To be a mixture of those two things is to me the best of both worlds. Black culture in the US is resonant with achievement and creativity in the face of the greatest of obstacles, always willing this country to be its best even as it’s so often shown black people it’s very worst."
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"I was raised to embrace both sides of my family," she continued. "To choose one identity would have been like giving the cold shoulder to the other, and I could no more have done that than I could cut off contact with one of my beloved grandmothers, say goodbye to family gatherings in Georgia with collards and ribs, or vow to never again eat pasteles on Christmas Eve."
Hostin also talks about her rise through national media to become one of the best known legal personalities on television. She also candidly wrote about her frustration about not being consulted about issues important to the Black community that would be covered on "The View."
"I’d begun to notice that when the show wanted to tackle issues of particular importance to the black community, such as police brutality or the controversy that cropped up the year not a single African American — or any other person of color for that matter — was nominated for a major Academy Award, I was never consulted about the contours of the conversation, let alone the possible guests," Hostin said. "It made no sense and really irritated me."
She added, "I couldn’t understand why, if there was a show celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. or a segment touching on voting rights, the producers wouldn’t approach me about my contacts. I could hook them up with powerful voices and pertinent points of view."
She took her complaint to Candi Carter, who is Black and one of The View's executive producers. Hostin recalled Carter telling her that she isn't really Black. Both women became busy and never took a moment to revisit those words until one night while having dinner at an Italian restaurant.
"I know that my words affected you, and I meant to come back and apologize, but I realize I never did,” Hostin recalled Carter saying. “So I want to say now that I’m sorry.”