Chosen family. Rosario Dawson is executive producer of the documentary, Lost In America, which sheds light on the state of youth homelessness — a topic that is a personal one for the the actress who adopted her daughter out of foster care.
“I try to just be really honest with what her situation was. I think in some ways — especially because she avoided [homelessness] in the end, she got adopted older — so it can be a little bit removed [for her],” she told Us Weekly exclusively at The Hollywood Night for Youth event on Saturday, November 16.
Us confirmed in December 2014 that Lola, who was in her fifth foster care placement by the time she was adopted, had become a permanent member of the actress’s family at age 11.
“We ended up watching Lost In America twice back-to-back because I was like, ‘I don’t think you’re really getting just how close to home this was.’ And we ended up having kind of an argument. She was like, ‘I wasn’t homeless’ and I was like, ‘Kind of, technically, that’s what you were. I mean, you weren’t on the streets at that point. But…’ She was in her fifth placement by the time I got to her,” Dawson explained. “I’m coming to pick her up with her stuff in garbage bags it’s like, ‘That’s not just leaving a home situation to just try out another home. That’s you being homeless until you found your forever home.’”
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Lola, now 16, is comprehending homelessness with the help of her mother and the work she is doing to bring awareness to homeless youth in America.
“I think [being exposed to homelessness] in some ways even de-stigmatized it. I think there’s a certain connotation when she was first sort of being exposed to homeless people, especially in New York … And then to have the capacity of understanding that it’s all different types, including someone like herself. It is an ‘us’ and not a ‘them’ situation,” Dawson, 40, emphasized. “This isn’t a choice. This is a situation that a lot of people are a paycheck away from and they don’t realize.”
The documentary film is also executive produced by singer Jewel with appearances by Halle Berry, Miley Cyrus, Tiffany Haddish and Jon Bon Jovi.
The Luke Cage actress also spoke to Us about creating change with boyfriend and politician Cory Booker by her side.
“We’ve mostly done our work individually in the world and we found each other at 39 and 49 and now we’re 40 and 50, and we’ve been around the block and it’s great to see us be in our stride doing what we love and being in our purpose. But to now do it together is, is just really profound.”
The couple made headlines when they announced in March 2019 that they were dating. Dawson told Us in October that the politician, who is currently running for president, sends her “romantic” poems and songs in the morning no matter how busy he gets on the campaign trail.
“We want to have joy in our lives. We want to support each other, we want to improve each other. We want to create that for my daughter. We want to create that with the rest of my family. We want to do that in our community. We’re both very family oriented and in the sense of our family history being super inspiring to us,” she told Us about their goals as a couple. “We definitely delight and excite, you know, are excited about the ideas of what we could create together since we’re now joining forces.”
Lost In America, directed by Rotimi Rainwater, a former homeless youth, will be released digitally and theatrically early 2020.
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