English | Saint Lucian
Growing up I didn’t quite understand at times why for example I wasn’t invited to that birthday party or why the teacher would always pick me to have my photograph taken first in my school that didn’t have so many brown people. I was like oh it’s because they like me when actually it was so that they could stick it on the prospectus to make it look like they were a lot more inclusive. Only now i’m starting to unpick some of this. Back then i don't think I was even aware of any of it.
I remember always thinking that I never felt white enough to hang around with all the white people or never felt black enough. I always floated around lots of different groups of people, almost being this butterfly. I think it was all positive but now looking back, maybe I was searching to try and find what my place was within a group and never really seeing people reflected back who have a similar experience to you.
I have my own theatre company which is all about race. It’s called the Pappyshow which is a Carribean word which means silliness or playfulness. One of our shows is called Boys which is with 10 men of colour just playing themselves. It’s a dance piece about joyfulness. We created it because at the moment we are hearing a lot about the struggle, how to difficult it is and the burden of your ethnicity and we were like that it is not necessarily our lived experiences. We celebrate and find real joy in being a man and being a man of colour. Often when you see a group of 10 men who look a certain way, we often assume types of things about them when actually there a lot more to them than that.
A conversation that has been coming up a lot in the rehearsal room has been about this exoticising of people’s story or heritage and this real need to try to cling onto something that some people haven’t even had the experience of. You should be able to do that because it is a part of you but some people think that it is inappropriate and culture appropriation in a way. Whether you didn’t know anything when you were young and then you go and find out about your culture, who are we to say that you don’t belong to that space.