Within what it means to be Black British there are many different stories and experiences. In the UK 70% of Black people of African and Caribbean heritage live in London and the majority within cities. I grew up living in a village on the outskirts of a market town in the East Midlands. Those of us who grew up in towns, villages and hamlets across the UK, as Black girls rarely see our experiences discussed or reflected. The overwhelming representation of the Black British experience centres London and even within that is limited.
Growing up in a town, hamlet or village is an experience in itself. It often means being distant from family and a larger Black community and the grounding that it provides. On the other hand, there is heavy freedom that can come from finding yourself independently.
Adolesence is hard, navigating identity, belonging, heritage and navigating being black women in very white spaces amongst all the mess of adolescence is a different challenge. As Black Womxn who have grown through these experiences and have stories to tell is what ISLANDS : BETWEEN WORLDS as a platform is about.
I started this project in February 2020, a lot has changed between then and when you are reading this. COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have highlighted the way systemic racism faces Black people and these interviews reflect this. Interviews were recorded over this period and I would like to thank everyone I interviewed for sharing their stories.