Sometimes I Want To Write

I see things, hear things, try to make sense of them, and writing helps me understand it all; what I think I witnessed, what emotions coursed through me, my response, and how (if) that reaction changed the situation. Or what the experience just taught me about the world. I love writing.  I didn’t know that before I started movingblack – it was more of a challenge I set myself – but I found I proper love using words to express the myriad of thoughts that I have about the world and my adventures in it.

If you’ve followed this blog for more than a week, you’ll have realised I’m kind of a fraud.  (Though I secretly prefer the term renegade) I’m not a blogger.  At least, not a good one.  I don’t blog frequently anymore, nor with anything resembling a rhythm. I get off topic easily and most posts exceed 1000 words.  I am slow at replying to comments, and my blog doesn’t seem to be a community of its own.  I am not a good blogger.  (So, if you’ve left a comment I’ve taken ‘a while’ to reply to, it’s nothing personal at all.  I only struggle with internet etiquette,  I’m really polite in reality.)  I figure, I’m not a surgeon, nobody’s life depends on being able to read a new blog post from me, so I don’t beat myself up about it too often. Plus I have a day job and plenty of real-world commitments and I’ve had one hell of a writer’s block for months now.  But then I read this piece by Radical Faggot and it all made sense again.

I need to write. Not for you dear reader, nor even for me, but because as Chimamanda once argued, there really is a danger in a single story.  By writing, I contribute to the existence of multiple narratives.  Of every thing, person and place I write about.  To me, this is crucial because multiple narratives sharpen the mind.  When multiple narratives present themselves simultaneously, a choice is necessary because questions arise; who said what?  When?  In what context?  Why?  What are their interests?  Are they reliable?  Consistent?  Revolutionary? Do I agree with their standpoint?  What does that change?  Are the available narratives the only narratives?  The most important? What is missing?  Who is missing?  Where multiple contradictory narratives exist, critical thinking happens.  No statement can be taken at face value; by virtue of a second, third, fourteenth version of the same story, holes appear, through which the truth starts to poke.  Sometimes.

So I guess this is a statement of intent to blog*, inspired by a blog post entitled ‘the political significance of being inconvenienced.’  The politics of rad fag are just On Point.  As committed an armchair activist as I claim to be, the one action I can take relatively frequently is to simply state my Afro-Caribbean/British/Migrant/French-Speaking/Girl truth.


I’m currently processing a fabulous Haitian adventure, so watch this space.   And follow Radical Faggot for powerful political commentary of the radical variety.  Plus, they post frequently.




* Disclaimer: in my haphazard, wordy, unrecommended-by-wordpress way

Trauma in the Spotlight

Disclosure:  As a teen, I dreamed of being an investigative journalist.

It’s been a full 24 hours since my most recent trip to the cinema and I’m still kinda traumatised.  After the film finished, I discussed it for a solid 90 minutes.  After a night of poor sleep, I woke up and did a quick internet search before work: I needed to know how true this story was.  I got that the main thrust is true, but how many liberties did the filmmakers take for dramatic effect?  How much artistic licence did they employ? Continue reading


Who in Harlem or Port-of-Spain Remembers Claudia Jones?

I think I might have a country crush on Trinidad and Tobago.  As a country, it simply fascinates me and there’s a startling number of paradigm-shifting black radicals who were born and raised there which may explain why.  Claudia Jones is just the latest to set fire to my imagination.

I’m also a big fan of carnival.  In the part of London where I grew up, I felt like I was the only black girl whose parents didn’t make sure they participated in Notting Hill’s festivities in full costume, even though in the days before the jubilee line extension and the overground line, Notting Hill was FAR.  Some kids participated every single year throughout primary school.  We went as a family every year, but I wasn’t ‘in’ carnival.  My happy hippy school, wider community and black-and-proud family nevertheless ensured that I had it drummed into me that Notting Hill Carnival was an important expression of our Caribbean culture, and was also to be celebrated as an act of remembrance of our place in British history.

I thus grew up knowing the name of Claudia Jones as she was ‘the mother of Carnival’.  What she created sixty-odd years ago as an indoor event designed to demonstrate that Caribbean culture was joyous and valuable, not simply alien and inferior, is now the biggest street party in Europe. Continue reading

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Dark Phrases: My Journey To Poetry Onstage And Off

Home. Where we come from frames everything we see later, everywhere we go. Whether we liked home or not, whether we’re aware of it or not.

The recourse to reading this young poet talks about totes reminds me of my childhood and adolescence. Different authors, soothing the same pain.

If anyone’s never witnessed me explain why I’ve never dated anyone more than 3 years older than me or won’t go to ‘school uniform’ themed parties, ’13’ says it beautifully. I’m pretty sure the first 20 men who asked for my phone number were all at least 10 years older than me. It reminds me of my innocence with the first few, when I wasn’t sure why they enjoyed a brief conversation so much that they’d like a second one. I still remember the revulsion mixed with fear I felt at the sight of men obviously in their late 40s slowing their cars down to chirpse me and my school-uniform clad friends.

Having said that, growing up as a black girl was great training for becoming a black traveller! The writer, Jasmine Jones, articulates the home I first travelled from.

No Fly on the WALL.

Happy Black History Month! Throughout October we will be celebratig the achievements of black women past and present through our SHEroes series. To kick things off, here is a ‘Poessay’ (Poetic essay) by our newest writer, Jasmine Jones. 

“dark phrases of womanhood

of never havin been a girl”

13 – You are walking down an aisle in a supermarket when you realize a

man has been following you. This man must be at least five years your

senior and he soon tries to call after you. Even as he sees you running

away – he persists. As you run all the way home you are not just running

from the man. You are running from the idea that you – year 8, pre-GCSE –

could be pursued by an adult man. That in that man’s eyes you were no

longer a girl but – an adult woman. When you finally…

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Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Malorie Blackman

Before Chimamanda and Zadie, they were there, like Rosa Guy, and Mildred T Taylor and Connie Briscoe, telling stories that moved me, that felt like home.


But Walker, Morrison and Blackman also did various things to make me want to write.

Alice Walker said, I read somewhere, and I’m massively paraphrasing here, that writers write because they have something stuck inside that sits uncomfortably until they get it out.  They write because they have to.  Sounds like me.

Toni Morrison showed me that writing is an art form, and there are geniuses, and people that somehow manage to pay the bills and that was no bad thing, but I should be able to tell the difference.  But then she also said if I can’t find the stories I want to read, I should write them myself.  Sounds like me.

When my mum came home with Hacker by Malorie Blackman, when I was a kid in the 90s and computers were still something to be awed by – on those occasions you were able to get near one – I connected instantly.  Her heroine, a black girl from London who uses computers to prove her dad’s innocence, was an ordinary black girl turned superhero, and was from London, like me.

Summer’s officially over and I’ve not travelled abroad, but have seen another side to Martinique.  I also wasn’t ‘home’ much, so I reckon I can crank out at least one short note based on the adventure.  5 Reasons To Make Your Caribbean Accomodation A Hospital is coming soon.

Til then🙂

Unrealistic Blacks

I think this is why people sometimes are surprised that I, a black woman who travels for fun, can exist. They’ve not seen someone like me on TV cos a studio exec somewhere reckons the character would come across as ‘unrealistic’! Loving how the bounds of possibility are illustrated here: one man terrorism fighting machine (Jack Bauer)? Possible. Black president he reports to? Impossible. LMAO!

Tawanda's Notepad


Remember the days when having black folk as leads in TV shows was considered unrealistic? I mean, before folks like Kerry Washington (Scandal) or Don Cheadle (House of Lies) were commonplace on the small screen, having black people in prominent roles was considered improbable; a sort of political correctness gone berserk.

Dennis Haysbert played US President David Palmer in the popular series 24. I remember some fans writing in to complain that having a black US president was a tad “unrealistic”. Imagine that. You are watching 24 and in all the crazy implausible scenes with Jack Bauer as a middle aged one man counter-terrorism fighting machine, all you’re seeing as the ONE unrealistic thing here is the race of the president? Ironically, it’s been said that Haysbert’s portrayal of David Palmer allowed viewers to become more comfortable with the idea of a black US president and consequently may have helped…

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Battledream Chronicle: Lame Name, Awesome Film

Now that I finally understand that a love of Martinique does not necessarily equate to an endorsement of colonialism, mental slavery or white supremacy, I’m coming out of the closet as a Madininaphile.   So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that my chosen residence at present is the centre stage of an animated feature at cinemas now.  Enter Battledream Chronicle.

Continue reading