am i doing BLACK right THO?
Were you ever reminded that there are endless ways to be black?
Sometimes we forget that yes, melanin is what makes us one but personality is what makes us unique. For most of my life I lived around white folks in suburban Italy, which ,yes, was great but also had it downsides. For example, I remember going to class and been called out for being loud and had that being accredited to the fact that I was black, now, in England, I’m loud because I grew up in Italy. How about being loud because I’m being an extroverted version of myself?
People love to box and put labels on others, because it makes them feel safe, it helps them categorise the world around them and make sense of it. Of course very visible attributes are used and we are all familiar with melanin related labels as well as heteronormative ways to see the world, which made me question for most of my teens if I was ever enough.
Was I ever black enough?
Was I ever straight enough?
Was I ever too much of introvert/extrovert?
Was the music I was listening to too white?
Was I enough of a rocker?
And only when I stopped questioning myself and started listening to my preferences by shutting the ghosts of other people’s voices in my head I started appreciating my own voice. The one voice that told me to listen to the music I wanted and wear as much vintage clothing as I wanted because "fashions fades, style is eternal (Yves Saint Laurent)”.
At some point, I stopped wondering if it was right for me to think romantically about different people in my life. And only by reminding myself of the labels that I wanted to be connected with I started to see me as myself and not as a reflection of other people expectations.
So who is Gabriela Valentina?
A black woman in her twenties, who loves to move to R’n’B music AND rock hard to rock music. A queer woman that continuously juggles her Nigerian heritage with her Italian upbringing. An independent individual that loves fashion but can’t really afford it so opts for vintage clothing that reflects her bright essence.
So the question now is: who is you babe? What makes you unique?
It does not matter what the colour of your skin is, what matters is what you are bring to the table, because that is something no one can take away from you.
Until he next time.
Take care of you babe.