Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Black people in Russia - Yelena Khanga

You can't write about black people in Russia without mentioning Yelena Khanga.

Yelena Khanga is one of Russia’s best-known black citizens. The popular host of a top-rated 1990s chat show about sex – “Pro Eto,” (About That), became one of the few black faces regularly seen on Russian television. Read her story at www.rferl.org

She also wrote the book 'Soul to Soul: Story of a Black Russian American Family, 1869-1992'.

Yelena Khanga is also the daughter of Lily Golden, the prominent social activist who passed away last year (2010).

In an interview with a Moscow State University journalism student, Yelena Khanga talks about Barack Obama and journalism. Read the (translatable) Russian video transcript at Russia.ru.

In a Russian talk show Yelena Khanga gives interview about life and career.

See also, 'Red Africa, Exploring the legacy of international socialist relations with Africa in art, film, architecture and music', The Calvert Journal, special report.

Website of Yelena Khanga (Russian:Елена Ханга) at www.yelenakhanga.ru


  1. Very interesting. I just found out about her the other day. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Yelena's biography, "Soul to Soul", is fascinating! It's so full of rich and colorful anecdotes I thought I was reading a novel.

    After she published her book she immigrated to the US for awhile and even hosted a cable talk show in New York, geared to the Russian community. I was hoping that she would become the "Russian-American Oprah".

    Sad to hear that her mom, the activist, Lily Golden, passed away in 2010. Her strong personality and presence take on a life of their own throughout the book; I could see her apartment with its thousands of books scattered all over the place and hear her voice rising (Yelena says that her mother had a strong temper) as I turned each page.:-)

    Anyway, thanks for spreading the word about Yelena Khanga and her mother, Lily Golden!

    1. Yes, I was also saddened to hear that Lily Golden had passed away. I had planned to contact her for an interview back in 2009, but I postponed it. When I wanted to contact her in 2011 I heard she had passed away just a few months ago.

  3. Yelena Khanga lived in NYC in the early 1990's and I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to meet her and invite her to speak with the students at my school. The message she gave (in Russian) to a large group of Russian students was not to judge a book by it's cover. She spoke to me about racism in America as she had experienced it - She was a gracious, pleasant, interesting lady.
    The book ' Soul to Soul' which chronicles her story is an excellent read. I was sorry to learn about her mom's passing.
    Alexis Blair

  4. Lily Golden wrote book herself My Long Journey Home.


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