I grew up in North London, Tottenham and I went to secondary school in Watford. My mum didn’t want me going to a school in Haringey (North London), because there was a lot of high crime rates, it was during the time when there were a lot of stabbings, a lot of young people getting killed, and she wanted me away from that. I went to Stanborough school in Watford, from year 7 to 8 and it was a private school, so then my mum enrolled me into Sir Joseph Williamson Mathematical school in Kent. I was still living in Tottenham travelling all the way to school by train everyday. It took me like two hours just to get to school and I was waking up at 5am. Around year 10 I moved properly to Kent.
Because of my mums intention, like she had a mission for me not go bad because we had seen it happen to other people in my family, I didn’t really have friends in my area. She was quite strict, like restricting me from seeing certain people, so I was alone a lot of the time.I felt really angry, because I felt like I had been uprooted from my life when we moved to Kent, like I was forced to live in a massively caucasian area. I appreciate now, because I had so many opportunities to do stuff that I wouldn’t have had in Tottenham.
I only became conscious of my blackness when I moved to Kent, because I was the only black person in the class. Being from Tottenham there is a massive difference between Tottenham and Kent so I wasn’t used to microagressions or overt racism, so I struggled with that a lot. Coming from where I’m from I saw the riots up front, I was there when they started, so I’ve seen the massive effects of racism. When I moved to kent there were so many racist jibes like, ‘are you gonna stab me? are you gonna shoot me?”, “do you walk 3 miles to get water everyday?” The thing is that it always gets played off as ‘banter’, but its not banter.
My skin colour is irrelevant to anything, at the end of the day people are people, and they have different characteristics, and those characteristics are gonna stem from your upbringing, the things you like, things you don’t like, not your race. For instance, I like rugby, but to many its seen as a “white sport”. I just do what I like.