The Afro in Afro-Caribbean
Black British, Afro Caribbean, Jamaican, LondonerJamaican, Londoner
I'm Felisa, I’m from London, UK, and identify as Black British Caribbean. As a person of Afro-Caribbean descent, there isn't a country in Africa that I can point to and claim as my own. However, I do feel very much a part of the African diaspora. I think the term Afro-Caribbean is a perfect way to acknowledge my ancestors that were born on the continent while recognising that my identity is more closely tied to Jamaica and Caribbean culture.
Photo 1: Kingston, Jamaica
This photo was taken in Jamaica. We stayed with family and these are some of the other children that lived in the neighbourhood. Despite being warned of how dangerous Jamaica would be, I never felt unsafe; I climbed a tree for the first time, went to the beach on Christmas Day and generally enjoyed being young and free. Although it was my first visit, going to Jamaica felt as familiar as going back to an old childhood home.
Photo 2: Summer fair
In this photo, I’m at a local fair in London, with my aunt and grandma who are two people I spent a lot of my time with. My grandma was born in Jamaica and is part of what you would call the Windrush generation. My aunt was born in Jamaica and very Afrocentric. She’s always talked to me about African art, and black leaders, and being proud of who I am. These two women play a huge part in my identity and growing up, were my immediate connection to Jamaican culture in the UK. Through them, I learnt so much about the importance of our history and community.
Photo 3: Uganda
This photo was taken during my trip to Uganda in 2018, and reminds me of being asked where I'm really from. It happened quite often in Uganda, and happens at my workplace in the UK. Interestingly, I get asked this by black-Africans, who always seem surprised when I say I’m Jamaican and I can never tell whether it’s disbelief or disappointment. From non-black people, it’s less about my African-ness and more about trying to measure my Britishness, to them, I just say ‘I’m from London’.
Photo 4: The Afro in Afro-Caribbean
This photo represents my adult journey connecting with the wider African diaspora. It was taken at TEDxEuston a TEDx event for African ideas worth spreading. The ‘Afro’ in Afro-Caribbean has always made me want to connect with people from the wider African diaspora, so this event was one of my ways of doing so. I’ve also been intentional about travelling to new places where I can meet a wider diversity of people from the diaspora and learn more about the world around me.
Your identity doesn't always fit into a neat little box and that can be a beautiful thing. I can be black, British, Jamaican and part of the African diaspora all at the same time. I don't have to choose. It's my belief that everyone should embrace, explore and be proud of all parts of their identity.