© 2017 by The Black Narrative, London, UK

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“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

theblacknarrative@outlook.com

ISABELLE, 20 - Antiguan, Dominican, Guadeloupean, Mauritian, French

I’m an army brat, my dad was in the military and we moved around when I was small, up until the age of 5 when my mum and I stopped moving around with him and settled in Antigua. I went to school there up until the age of 14, then I moved to England and did my GCSEs here and I’ve been here ever since.

 

Initially, when I was in America, when my dad was working in America, I realized I was black. But then when I went back to Antigua, I wasn’t black enough. Because both of my parents are not “fully” black, they’re both mixed, so it was one of those things where it was like there’s black girls, then there’s mixed girls, then there’s white girls. I always thought I was black, because my mum made it very clear to me that “You are black. You are mixed, but you are black, predominantly because that what people see you as when you go into the world”, but black people kind of did the tokenism thing, where like they’d say “You’re a mixed girl. You’re a darkish mixed girl, but you’re a mixed girl” So it was something I had to grow into and find my own place, and make my peace with what I was.

 

I just kind of live my truth. I’m still trying to find who I am, but who I know myself to be and the little pieces of myself that I’m aware of, I’ve come to terms with, and that’s just who I am and I live my truth, and if you don’t like it, I’m so sorry! In particular, with my Asian family on my dad’s side, Asian people are Asian, and you don’t really see a lot of cross over there but through my mum, we are coloured on her side. Initially it was kind of hard to mesh with the cultures because you kind of are made to feel subconsciously like you don’t really fit in, but more and more you kind of accept that you’re all of this and make it work I guess.

 

I’d say the best thing about being Antiguan is the importance of tourism, Antigua is really big on tourism, that’s our main thing, we don’t really have anything else to offer! But we do have like 365 beaches, and put a lot of effort into beautifying the place and we have a really good connection with the sea, we love water, and we know where we came from. There’s still remnants of the Slave Trade and plantations on the island and a lot of monuments that are there to commemorate who we’ve been, where we were and where we’re going. Its just a really beautiful thing, the meshing of the past and present coming together and making us a really conscious people about who we are.

 

Hobbies wise, I’m a freelance photographer, I take pictures from time to time, Im working on an exhibit on mental health, and then I have a page with Kosa called “Know Thy Sauce”. I have a blog that I’m currently revamping, I’m trying to put together a portfolio site for my photography and I’m considering freelance modelling, only because I have beloved people who tell me that I’d be good at it.

 

I have a resting bitch face, so it’s not really helpful when people first see you, and it’s one of those things, I look really miserable but I’m not! I’m a lot of fun, I think, and I’m a happy person generally and I really love my friends and I love my people, and I like to help; I’m a helper and a trier, so it’s kind of sad when people say “I thought you were a bitch” and I’m just like “….again”. But I feel as though, if you take the time to get to know me, I can be someone really great, and if you decide to take that chance, that’s cool, if you don’t, I guess it’s your loss and my loss too.

 

For the future, I just want to try and be the best person I can be and that sounds so cliché, but like, genuinely, I think there’s so many things you’re put on this Earth to do, and I just want to find my purpose and do it and be fulfilled in what I do, and I definitely want to have lasting impact in what I do. It doesn’t have to be big, but I just want to help people and make sure that the lessons that I’ve learned they learn without having to go through the slug of it.

 

Black people, we need to bind together. I definitely feel as though there’s a lot of marginalization within the black community regarding a plethora of issues, and I think that when we first start tackling what we have to deal and when we start to understand and tolerate one another, we’ll then begin to truly see our full potential as a force. There’s so much marginalization going on which is not even inflicted by us, it’s what we’ve had inflicted upon us and what we’ve taken on. I think we need to come to terms with it in our own way and find our way to move forward, because there’s a lot of things that the cause isn’t our fault but we’re dealing with the issues and repercussion of it and once we finally make our peace with that and find a way to move forward, we’ll begin to really realise our potential. I hope that we can unite and fix things together, because we really are a force to be reckoned with but I feel as though because of all the hicks and hacks we don’t mesh as well as we can, and it’s quite sad.

 

 

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August 11, 2017

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