“It’s frustrating being referred to as “sassy” when I voice an opinion or “having an attitude” because I’m honest about how I feel. More often than not, I find myself biting my tongue to avoid being categorised by people who are so keen to make me resemble the “strong independent black woman” they’ve seen on TV.

“For years I buried my hoop earrings to the bottom of my jewelry box to avoid being branded as “ratchet”. Now, I see the models of Balmain’s most recent campaigns wear chunky, over-sized hoops down the red carpet, coveted as haute couture’s brightest stars.

“I know my friends, male and female alike, don’t have to put half as much thought into the way they speak or dress or behave. I wonder how many of my white, female friends have ever been asked “so, you can twerk right?” on a night out, when simply standing at the bar? Or had a guy, mid-conversation, drop the line “I’ve always wanted to sleep with a white girl” – doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

“When I was asked to contribute something to this project, I was pretty reluctant for fear of being dismissed as just another “angry black girl” – cos I’ve never heard that before- but it’s so important to highlight the real consequences of typecasting someone whether it’s based on their ethnicity, gender, sexuality or religion. So yes, I am TIRED of regulating how I speak, dress and act to get away from being the ghetto-ised, fetish-ised, audacious, overly-confident black woman you want me to be. Sorry to disappoint.”

Photo credit: Ming Au
Editing: Ming Au

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