“Growing up in London, I’ve been told from a young age in many variants that essentially how I speak and how I behave is not reflective of my skin colour. Whether it is ‘you’re quite posh, aren’t you?’ or ‘you don’t act black’, it is always implied that how I am is fundamentally incorrect and I should adhere to my respective stereotype.
“Perhaps I should speak in slang and wear low riding tracksuit bottoms, innit? Ironically, it’s been mostly black people that have said these things to me.
“While at university, I had already taught myself to not take these ‘observations’ personally and just laugh it off or even play up to it. However, being a little older now, I know I don’t have to facilitate anyone else’s preconceptions and be made to feel bad about myself. And it’s not as if it comes from a malicious or hateful place. It’s just society has a way of conditioning us, and this project is actively working against that. Not because we’re all rebels but because talking about all the issues people are ignorant about will hopefully change the way we see individuals.
Because we all are individuals.”
Photo credit: Paula Akpan
Editing: Ming Au