English | Jamaican
I identify myself as mixed race English/Jamaican. I am a musician, working at a record label, playing & touring in a post punk band (Ice Baths) and solo as Specimens, I also run my own label First Terrace Records.
I only really started to think about & understand my mixed cultural background in secondary school around 13/14 – I know that feels quite late but I really didn’t think too much about it before then. I used to go to Notting Hill Carnival with my parents as a young kid to celebrate my Caribbean heritage & of course had interactions with Caribbean & Black family members on my Mums side but it just wasn’t something I thought too much about. The area I grew up in was pretty Caucasian but my best friend growing up was the only other mixed race kid in school, I dunno if that played a part subconsciously but it wasn’t until I was a little older I started to notice or rather think about it. Really though in the last few years I have started to identify and think a lot more about my heritage, ethnicity & where I fit in on the spectrum of race. I think also, because I came out quite fair skinned I felt there was a barrier and I couldn’t identify or wasn’t ‘allowed’ to identify publically with my mixed race heritage because I wasn’t dark enough…sounds silly but it’s certainly something that still plays heavily on my mind.
Whilst I haven’t had really traumatic experiences or bias attitudes towards me as a mixed race person (I suspect because a lot of people don’t even know), there have been occasions where people have questioned me in a less than pleasant way about my background, shouted at me for having curly big hair when I was younger and just generally call into question my ethnicity. This can become a bit tiresome but I do appreciate I have many privileges in having fairer skin. But over the years it has made me want to hide my ethnicity to a certain extent as it’s easier, I tried to express it more when I was younger and basically got a lot more stick from people.