Raizin in the Sun is a web-series about Lila Anton and her family's life in Japan. Born in the province of Shizuoka, Lila is the youngest daughter of a Jewish father from Greenwich Village and a black mother from Washington Heights. They settled in Japan in 1975. Lila undertook this project and was motivated to tell her story in response to the many queries about her life. She says, “When I started to reflect, I realized, really for the first time, how unique my upbringing was, and how I had internalized much of my experience.” Her goal is to highlight stories, like hers and her family’s, of people who have truly transcended the imposed boundaries meant to separate us. This visual chronicle of Lila's life allows all of us to reflect on our upbringing, identity, and place in the world. Lila partnered with directors Coodie and Chike, of Creative Control. 


Lila invites over her friends Tecla and Jasmine Solano for some home cooked Japanese dinner.


As signs of spring approached NYC, Lila set out with Coodie to take in the sights and sounds of a particularly crisp spring afternoon. Having been perceived as an ‘outsider’ in her native Japan, Lila has honed a sensitive perspective on the world and the people around her.

Since moving to NYC, Lila’s created a strong circle of Japanese friends/NYC residents. Lila met up with her friend Sakiko to exchange stories of NYC nightlife, gentleman callers, and how Lila’s environment shaped her vision at different stages of her life. Then she jogged over to Prohibit to check out another acquaintance, Shin. As they went back and forth in their native tongue, their appetites for some Japanese comfort food were irreversibly whetted, leading them to one of their favorite Japanese restaurants to cap off the evening.


A few weeks ago, on one of the first comfortably crisp New York spring days, Lila Anton and her parents (Karen and William) ventured uptown with Coodie to the neighborhood where her mother grew up for this episode of Raizin’ in the Sun. An afternoon of cooking, chatting with friends old and new, and Jill Scott led to engaging discussions on the family’s experience living in Japan, and a retrospective look at the coalescence of race, culture, and love. The circumstance of the move to Japan, and the nature of the journey itself give you a sense of this eclectic family. While working as a macrobiotic cook in Boston, William was invited to travel to Japan with Karen to further his study in macrobiotic cooking, martial arts and oriental medicine. The duo drove overland to Japan over the course of a year, visiting some 25 countries, including Pakistan, Thailand, Afghanistan, Nepal and India in the process. The fact that William was White and Karen was African-American didn’t make the couple outsiders in the Japanese farming community they called home.  Despite a few questions about the implications of their children being biracial, their love was strong enough to be seen for what it was. And while Lila encountered some pressing questions about her upbringing, race and appearance from her peers, they ultimately recognized their underlying similarities. Anton’s story is one of fusing races, languages, and customs throughout the realms of work, family, and friends. The result is a sense of personal enrichment, founded on the appreciation of a host of unique backgrounds


My Jewish father from Greenwich Village and my black mother from Washington Heights did not "blend in" physically in our provincial Japanese environment. But instead of "blending in," they negotiated the path of crossing culture. These are my stories being a Razin' in the Sun....