Nigerian/English | Ghanaian
I identify as straight & a Buddhist. My late mum was half Nigerian and half English. Her Nigerian side are Muslim’s from the north, a tribe called the Fulani. Dad is from Ghana. He is Hindu and follows the teachings of Sai Baba and even named my brother Vishnu! They met in London in the 70s. The more interesting story is how my grandparents met! The union of my mother’s parents was somewhat unorthodox, my grandmother Adama came from a strict Muslim family. Patrick, my grandfather an indomitable English gentleman had left the country in search of fortune and adventure in Africa in the 30s. It was in Nigeria where he met my grandmother who he would eventually take for his wife. He was so resolute in his pursuit of her that he even pretended to be a Muslim so as to satisfy her austere father who was an Islamic cleric. The man was ahead of his time, a true pioneer of the world we live in today.
I grew up in North West London, however we moved to Ghana for a year and a half when I was a child.
I’m not sure of the exact age but I have known I am mixed since I was a child. My mum was very light skinned, dad was dark, I was brown – it made sense. I was always aware of my heritage. However, growing up I felt much closer to my African side. We ate African food at home, I spent more time with my African family, the majority of my friends we Black. My English grandfather died before I was born so I never had a chance to meet him. There was one English auntie who lived in Brighton that we used to visit when I was a child but apart from that I never really knew my English side until quite recently. In essence I felt more in touch with the African culture, more Black than White - which technically I am. My mother spoke Hausa, Ga and a bit of Twi. Dad spoke Twi, even to this day my idea of comfort food is a solid bowl of fufu and peanut soup.
I’m quite open with who I hang out with, gay/straight, Black or White, everyone is welcome!
My girlfriend is White, she is half Irish and half Italian. However, race doesn’t play a role in who I choose as a partner. Not at all. I have dated White, Black, Asians - colour doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about synergy and connection. How do we get on? Can we relate and have meaningful conversation? Do we stimulate, challenge and encourage each other to be better? To me, these things are infinitely more important than skin colour. I’m interested in what lies beneath, not what we see on the surface.
Mixed-race is such a broad term, it’s not just mixing Black and White, you have people from all over the world in interracial relationships. Japanese and Brazilian, Indian and English, Russian and African. However, what I will say, on a personal level, having both Black and White heritage, I feel I am categorised as a Blackman in the U.K. Admittedly, I am mostly Black, but I do feel the White side of me is overlooked due to my appearance. I feel that people sometimes sense that mixed people are a bit unsure of who they are. I used to feel that way anyway, I once felt that I didn’t belong anywhere, like I had some sort of identity crisis. In Ghana the blacks called me White and, in the U.K, I am seen as Black. It’s a strange dichotomy, but one which I feel I can use to my advantage.
I remember once me and my brother were in a take away and this drunk girl stumbled in and started creating a ruckus. I can’t remember exactly what triggered it, but one thing led to another and she began insulting us and calling us ‘caramac’ or something like that. Saying we were confused, we didn’t know if we were Black or White we and didn’t know who we were. We just found the whole thing quite funny to be honest.
Being born in North West London in the late 80s was such a melting pot, especially within my local community. So, despite growing up in the UK, I was never in the minority, even at my school there were more Black and Asian kids than White kids. I never felt like an outsider, I felt like a bonafide Londoner with mixed English and African heritage.
I find people are intrigued by my mixed heritage, especially having both Ghanaian and Nigerian in me, countries who are considered sworn enemies, don’t get me started with the jollof debate! Mix that in with English, middle/upper class Aristocratic blood and I believe this creates something quite unique. I feel I can integrate with anyone due to my mixed background, it gives me some sort of confidence knowing who I am, I can flit between groups of different colours, classes and creeds with relative ease. Even as a child I felt empowered by my dual heritage and always felt equally accepted by Blacks and Whites. It’s a bit cliché, but it’s like I have the best of both worlds.
If I had the opportunity to be born again I would like to come back as a mixed-race Buddhist monk, an ascetic who attains enlightenment!
I feel that eventually, some millennia down the line, a majority of people on earth will be mixed-race. Due to the internet, media (social and traditional forms) and travel being easily accessible for people, we live in a more cosmopolitan world now. Although racism still exists, people’s attitudes towards race is changing, interracial marriages have increased, we are integrating a lot more now and this is only going to increase. I believe the future of the human race is mixed-race.