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l. Lust in the Future

I’m not used to not being looked at in a condescending way.

It’s been long my elder sister and I got away from our abitual, respective routines. Scrap that, we’d never done that. So when Ryanair gave us the right offer at the appropriate time, we hopped on it, like bees in a honey pot.

The country was Eindhoven – the Netherlands, beautiful, beautiful place. Clean as phuck too, great buildings and cordial people, food wasn’t that good though. Everyone spoke English or at least, tried to make our stay bearable by making sure the language barrier wasn’t going to be a deal breaker. Even though I’m starting to get into the dutch language myself, I do like knowing when I am being told off.

And that moment never came.

I’ve lived in Italy for 15 years already and when you are an “outsider” you just know when you are being looked at like you don’t belong there or  you are being considered “less than”. I’ve dealt with so much covert racism that I was simple waiting for that moment to hit me, in the cold streets of Eindhoven, with a loud ass luggage behind me disrupting the quiet of that afternoon.

It never came.

I’m not trying to sugar coat the Dutch – neither do I think it’s a safe haven either, I mean racism is real and it’s everywhere, the various shades of peoples’ skin will always be an issue, everywhere, anywhere, all the time – yes, even in African countries.

Still, it is a welcome feeling to be treated for who one really is when in a foreign country – tourists – not really black tourists per se, just tourists with very peculiar and coloured hairstyles. Tourists, who were undeniably excited when the train announcer said: “Next Stop, Amsterdam CS.

It felt good to be treated like everyone else, not be fetishized, at least the illusion felt great. Felt fucking amazing to pass unnoticed too, in some way, not because we were black Ugh these niggers are probably here to steal something, let me call my neighbour to hide the valuables but because we were just in a nice country to feed our eyes and hearts on what went on when we were locked away with the monotony we’ve made our lives.

It was nice to watch so many mixed couples walk hand in hand and no sad, judgemental older (wo)man raising his/her brows in dismay and horror OMG! The white race won’t resist much longer if this sin against my ancestors continues, gotta remember to call my sister to tell her son not to bring any rice cake home – after my kebab, I love kebabs in sight.

The worst kind of racism, for me, had always been the covert kind of racism “It’s all in your head L. – It’s just ignorance, not real racism – You are one of the good ones, but the others, I’d kill”.

My heart is full with gratitude for each day I pass on Earth, you know? Everything, everyone, has been a gradual process to making me who I am today, every experience, every lesson, every racial slur and every “you are a beautiful black woman” too.

This trip is simply a metaphor I’d cherish and keep trying to decode in its simple yet awespiring intricacies. I didn’t know just how much covert racism had made it feel normal for me to feel unwanted or inappropriate, right from some years shy of teenagehood. Do not get me wrong, Italy is great – the food is greater, made good friends and questionable ones have been kicked to the curb, yet, I just wasn’t used to this, It was a breathe of fresh air. Might be hard to understand if you can’t relate but knowing something as good and as simple as “opportunity to prove one’s self before undergoing unintelligible skin color scrutiny” happens to people of color, daily – every and anywhere, outside my comfort zone is just beautiful, makes me feel at peace – at home, once again and I’m glad I was priviledged enough to know just how good that feels, I’d truly forgotten.

Welcome to Amsterdam, have fun. I hope you enjoy it” said the guy seated close to me on the train once we got to our destination.


Fela Anikulapo-Kuti : “Trouble Sleep, Yanga Go Wake Am.” [1979]


Lindsey: “Trouble sleep, yanga go wake am – Cover” [Brown – The EP]


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m. Magna Carta, Lonely Grail

“I’m getting married!” – My heart sunk.

That week was going great. I’d passed an exam on a Monday. Got reconfirmed for my summer job on a Tuesday. Found a place to stay in my Uni’s city on a Wednesday. So it only seemed right I had a shameless intake of chocolate for the rest of the week – I binge watched Luther, heavy Idris Elba oogling duties for the culture.

“Do you wanna come?” – My heart did a 180°.

I was turning 25 and the need to be more than what I’d been kept me up at night.  Few months later, lots has changed but that feeling is still as strong. The need for ideas and taking territories, like Pastor Sam Adeyemi had preached months before, was intense…still is. Growth is a force to reckon with, a no holds barred moving locomotive, a necessary ride you need to hop on in life.

“So? I’m not joking, I’m really getting married.” – What? How niccuh? Why??!

So, when he told me via Messenger video call “I’m getting married, do you want to come?”, I really didn’t know what to say. I thought the shitty Wi-fi at the library was playing pranks.

We’ve known each other for 8 years but we’d never met. It was one of those friendships that simply worked, regardless of the others’ absence, you know?  We’d talk for hours about everything and anything and nothing. The sun would rise bright in his country whilst I was fast approaching the heart of the night in mine, still, it felt like we were in the same room. Lovers. Friends. Partners. Foes. When we kinda fell apart and tried to get back to talking terms, the bond still managed to stay intact…ish.

When he repeated for the umpteenth time: “I’m getting married”, I blacked out. I don’t know, It wasn’t jealousy, now I know.  It was just weird ‘cause I hadn’t realised how much growing we’d been doing at every “ode ni e” “you don chop today?” and “pele o” “happy birthday” and “good morning/night jare”. I was pissed that when our weird relationship came to an abrupt halt (my fault), life had continued and he’d moved on to an interesting phase in his life and I wasn’t there. Things had switched up so fast, blink and you will miss it kinda situation. When it finally dawned on me that my bestie had found his supposed “missing rib”, I made sure I didn’t fuck up the one glorious impromptu homework he gave me on his wedding day – a playlist for the reception. I’m sure I did a shite work but I’d never been so proud to pick out tracks, be proud of someone and honoured to be part of such a thing of beauty like their union – all at once.

I’m 25 now and every other night I debate what I should have for dinner and how I should put together my study plan for the next day while loads of my friends are doing different things in their lives. I need more, not a marriage (hi mom, sorry mom!), just more and I just don’t know how to get there.

Don’t blink. Don’t..

PSA:  Shaggy’s “Hot Shot” album, still 3 dynamites and a mine.

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l. Lemonade

It’s one of those days again, I have lots to read and projects to prepare and dreams to dream of, yet, my mind keeps racing and my fingers feel the need to release shit on a clean WordPress sheet. Memories of the past and the present collide to keep me alert, awake and tired.

I was 15 and it was French class and even though my French was shitty, when this poem came up, I understood it clearly, in its entirety:

Cher frère blanc !

Quand je suis né, j’étais noir.
Quand j’ai grandi, j’étais noir.
Quand je vais au soleil, je suis noir.
Quand j’ai froid, je suis noir.
Quand je suis malade, je suis noir.
Quand je mourrai, je serai toujours noir.

Dear white brother!

When I was born, I was black.
When I grew up, I was black.
When I go out in the sun, I’m black.
When I’m cold, I’m black.
When I’m ill, I’m black.
When I die, I shall always be black.

It’s all coming back to me now, the nasty looks at the hospital with my kid sister, the unpleasant cuss words that were being said to me by cruel 11/12 year old kids in Middle School. I remember those bus rides home too, bullies would call me “scimmietta” (likkle monkey/ape) and I wouldn’t reply. I was always ashamed of my complexion and my relaxed yet coarse hair, my imperfection(s) and because I was simply me. Years after that, I still felt that sense of helplessness, we were all so young, no one really stood up for me. I’m not blaiming anyone, I’m just saying, that sense of impotence maims people.

Quand tu es né, tu étais rose.
Quand tu as grandi, tu étais blanc.
Quand tu vas au soleil, tu es rouge.
Quand tu as froid, tu es bleu.
Quand tu as peur, tu es vert.
Quand tu es malade, tu es jaune.
Quand tu mourras, tu seras gris.

When you were born, you were pink.
When you grew up, you were white.
When you go out in the sun, you’re red.
When you’re cold, you’re blue.
When you’re afraid, you’re green.
When you’re sick, you’re yellow.
When you die, you’ll be grey.

Well now, Lord have mercy, now I simply don’t care. I mean, everyday I fight for myself, for my happiness and the constant ignorance off and online. The world is filled with so much fuckedupness that dwelling on petty problems such as old and new bullies just doesn’t cut it anymore.

I’m finally rebuilding myself at 25! My skin is B.L.A.C.K. and I’m finally getting comfortable with her. Just like the posts, one insecurity at a time.

Et après ça, tu as le toupet de m’appeler “Homme de couleur” !

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