She sweats everywhere I sweat. Rianna Jade Parker
“I am the sugar at the bottom of the English cup of Tea. I am the sweet tooth, the sugar plantations that rotted generations of English children’s teeth. There are thousands of others beside me that are, you know, the cup of tea itself. Because they don’t grow it in Lancashire, you know. Not a single tea plantation exists within the United Kingdom. This is the symbolisation of English identity.” -Stuart Hall, ‘Old and New Identities, Old and New Ethnicities’ 1991.
At any given time, if asked, I will . tell you that I want to be back on
my island. I’m not a Rothschild, so I can’t even entertain the idea of owning much more than the Oyster Card in my back pocket;and although I’m constantly moving around due to the restlessness felt by children of immigrants everywhere. I don’t return to the Caribbean as often as I would like. But when I am on my island I breathe differently. I don’t grapple with my issues of belonging that attest to the bouts of anxiety I feel as much. I’m not confronting a population who want my labour but don’t want me around and my black body is not under constant and immediate threat as it is at home in England. I can bear the brunt of chopping down coconuts for my own indulgence, read all the
folk literature I want and lounge on the veranda of the house my grandfather built. This simple kind of intimacy is what I’m constantly looking for, so when I can’t be there, I revel in the spaces that give me that similar comfort. . It is June and I’ve crossed the Black Atlantic to move to a city with a rat map and performers who swing from the subway car poles with little regard to personal space. My fructose of choice that summer is mango and sugarcane that I gnaw on without consideration of the intense flossing I do every morning. These honeyed liberties and warm weather along with my curatorial collective, The Lonely Londoners, make for a perfect environment for optimum creativity and take me closer to that feeling I only feel on my island.
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