This is a post that I have written and rewritten about 27 times because it can be such a tender issue with someone people.
There has been a lot of comments from other bloggers about brands using a diverse range of bloggers for their campaigns and this is something that has made me hesitate to write this post but has also spurred me on to publish it.
Growing Up Mixed Race
I am mixed race; my dad’s family is Jamaican and my mum is white. I have a brother and two sisters who are from my mum’s first marriage and are white, so our family photos always look a little strange to people on the outside.
Growing up, I didn’t even realise that my skin was different until people pointed it out, and a lot of people pointed it out. When introduced to my Mum, my year 7 form tutor looked a bit stunned then said: “you don’t look anything alike!” This has been echoed by so many people over the years that I can’t help but say “is it because I’m brown?”. They laugh nervously and nod, obviously caught in their inability to look past skin colour.
But it’s not their fault. If you turn that photo into greyscale, you’ll see that we all have the same chin, our eyes all crinkle the same when we smile, and we are SO alike in personality that we get on each other’s nerves. A lot.
Not Seeing Colour
Like I said, I rarely remember that I have a different colour skin until someone mentions it. They often call me exotic or caramel, both of which I’ve grown to just shake my head at.
A lot of guys fetishise my heritage and that’s not ok. People from Jamaican and white backgrounds alike will have an opinion on how I should view myself.
Black people will be quick to tell me that I should embrace my blackness, that I’m not half black, I am black. White people think that I will have the black-girl attitude and often say “I expected you to be a bitch when I first met you.” That’s also not ok.
I don’t identify with the black part of my heritage because my dad and his family haven’t been around to educate me about it. I didn’t know my Dad’s father’s name until I did an ancestry search! My two aunts took me to Antigua to met their sister, but I had no idea that she even existed until they mentioned the trip when I was 20. So you could say that they have taken that part of my heritage away.
Not Your Average Blogger
If you’ve seen any of the recent press trips where bloggers have been the focus, you’ll notice that there isn’t much variety. Tall, toned, light brown hair, tan from a bottle… It’s easy to mix up bloggers like that because they are interchangeable.
There are some bloggers that still give me hope that you don’t have to fit into a mould to be successful. Bloggers like Imogenation and Patricia Bright are so unique in their looks and personalities that I gravitate towards them.
I still can’t find a blogger that looks like me or YouTuber who looks like me, even after searching ‘mixed race blogger’. Yeah, I had to do that.
So here’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to try and find my true self and present that authentically to you, natural hair included. Who’s with me?
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