Home is where the heart is. My home is in England, Leicester to be precise and it’s all I have mostly known. Black History Month and the Windrush scandal (you asked us to come here to rebuild the commonwealth but now I am not a citizen *sips tea*) has been wondering ‘Where do I belong and where is home to me?’ It is not an easy question to answer unless you’re the feds or the Home Office then I live in H’ngland.
Shoulder fi ya fling
I know I am Jamaican and my roots Nigerian or Ghanaian, Gambian cause that is peoples first thought when they see me. Maybe it is the rich chocolate skin tone, who knows?
It is such an interesting and layered question because when I meet other black people, they love to say ‘You know your African you know’ before I have even said the first syllable of my name. You hate to see it. When people ask me ‘Where I am from?’, I tell them to guess and I get Nigerian, Ghanaian and Kenyan, Zimbabwean, Gambian, Sierra Leonean before they decide that I might be Caribbean.
You can’t be a Jamaycan
You don’t look Jamaican. Your dad looks homeless, where do we go from here?!
That phrase use to irk me and still does, I have people telling me I am not Caribbean, I can’t be, and I don’t look or sound Jamaican. Sorry bossman, shall I grow from faux locs and burn a zoot?! What does that even mean? Black people from all different countries come in different shades and cultural backgrounds. Just cause I can’t speak patois doesn’t make me less of Jamaican. Can you even speak Twi? Kwasiasem.
When I tell people, I am born here; I get oh well you are not cultured enough from fellow black people. It can really be your own people. People who actually grew up or lived where their parents are from think they are superior than you because you didn’t. Okay then. Language is a big part of culture, so is music, sports and food, beliefs, and laws just to name a few.
Is that your real name?
I tell people the time I am from Leicester with my chest and they are rattled. I was born, grew up and still live here. Why does it concern you where am I from? Trying to convince people I am British is harder than a decision made in parliament.
Having a ‘British’ sounding name (like we weren’t colonised by the British) is interesting. You can get through the ‘door’ but once they see your melanin, their face starts to twiss and push up. Am I a sour sweet? Why can’t you connect the name and the skin tone? Please this is not BT Wi-Fi. Then people always ask me ‘Is that your real name?’ Listen you ain’t Home Office, I don’t have to lie about my name or my age.
It is actually disrespectful to assume; I am not British, and my home is outside the UK just on the basis of my melanin. My home is my home. I don’t have to justify where I live and why I consider Britain my home and not the Caribbean. If I am a Londoner, will that not suffice? Home is where you feel comfortable and have the most connection too.
I very rarely ask people of colour or no colour where they from are because it is not my business. Frankly, I don’t care if you are from Blackburn and your name is Khalil. If me and you are in the same England, that is fine with me, I am not an employer.
Being Black British
I am proudly Black British with a rich heritage and culture behind me. Being Black is Lit.
So my question to you, is ‘Where is Home To You and Where Do You Belong?’
Peace until next time,
This Girl Can Write, A