Visual Project: Caribbean Faces

 

Celebrating Caribbean Ancestral Diversity Through Pictures

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Caribbean Face #1 – Trinidad 🇹🇹 Kevin Rondon, currently living in Barbados, is the CEO of ‘Trini Doubles’, specialising in Trinidadian street food. “Born and raised in Trinidad, I have so many wonderful memories of growing up with fantastic food. Although I took an interest in all the flavours and smells that make up the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, there was one food that consistently captivated my interest… Doubles! Doubles is the number one street food of Trinidad and Tobago. It consist of two baras and curry channa (chickpeas). They are therefore 100% vegan. As well as Afro-Trinidadian, I am mixed with Venezuelan, Scottish, Afro-Bajan and Indo-Trinidadian. I married an Indo-Trinidadian woman who always insists that she is not Indian- she is Trinidadian!” The Caribbean for me is an array of different colours- people, plant life, cultures- coming together, all blended up, but without losing their primary colours: their own identity and ancestry. I love that brotherly, neighbourly warmth of the Caribbean. The love and passion we have within us despite the hardships we face as Caribbeans.” ‘Trini Doubles’ recently opened in the UK, Watford. Please do check out their delicious food!
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Caribbean Face #2 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 Ruqayyah Fombo is a teacher from North London. She is Jamaican of both Indian and African ancestry, and Nigerian. “Being Caribbean means acknowledging the beauty of my homeland whilst acknowledging my African and Indian heritage. I consider myself to be part of a new and exciting generation of Caribbean youth who are empowered by the new found interest and importance of looking into our ancestry whilst creating our own culture by drawing on the ways of our ancestors and adapting our own new music, clothing and lingo.”
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Caribbean Face #3 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 @howchelives is from South East London and runs her own holistic skin and haircare line. She is Afro / Indo / Native Jamaican and Irish. “The national motto of my island is “Out of many, one people”. We have every ancestry you could imagine and we took it all and blended it until we had our own language, food and culture. Being Caribbean, I feel like I have the fullness of the Earth, there aren’t many continents I can’t trace my ancestry to and I love that.” Please check out @howkaylives on instagram / howkaylives.co.uk for raw, vegan, organic and hand whipped shea butter products.
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Caribbean Face #4 – Trinidad 🇹🇹 Adam from North London is studying Mechanical Engineering. He is half Trinidadian of Indian Ancestry and half Moroccan. “I’ve never felt a huge connection with the Caribbean, I think because I have never lived there and there has been more of a Moroccan influence to my life- I speak the language ect. I love being In Trinidad, and being with my Caribbean family, because that is when I mostly feel connected to my Caribbean roots. I hope that one day I can explore my ancestry more and discover more about that part of my heritage.”
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Caribbean Face #5 – St Lucia 🇱🇨 F.A. Malik is a freelance courier driver who has a passion for events and project management. He was born in St Lucia and regards himself a Afro Caribbean. “Being Caribbean is only part of my story. St Lucia is where I was born, the UK is where I grew up, but my ancestry is African. The Caribbean being a sub culture to African culture has developed in parallel but is isolated from its influence, traditions and languages. The development of that continent would have definitely benefited from us in the diaspora if it was not for the obvious tampering of the trans Atlantic episode of the past…and the story goes on.”
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Caribbean Face #6 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 Quel Paris (instagram: @minduplivin) is Jamaican of African Ancestry. “What being Caribbean means to me is beauty & strength, as I take pride in the fact that I descend from enslaved Africans who survived the greatest tragedy on the earth. It gives me great comfort to know that I have the blood of rebellious, resourceful & resilient ancestors running through my veins. Being a British-Jamaican, the connection to my culture gives me a greater sense of belonging as I have never felt completely at home within British culture. My connection to Jamaica has been instilled in me by my great grandparents, who never fully assimilated when they came to Britain, the decor of their sitting room still represents the life of a Caribbean family who first emigrated to Britain and the old school feel keeps me grounded to remember my roots, and appreciate their struggles and sacrifices for family.” *** “The Sitting Room” ~ click on the link below for photos from Quel Paris’ inspirational sitting room (thank you grandma for allowing me to photograph it!).

Traditionally Caribbean:

“The Sitting Room”

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Caribbean Face #7 – Trinidad 🇹🇹 Maleehah Ali lives in Trinidad and is a student at Bishop Anstey Trinity College East Sixth form. She is Trinidadian of Indian Ancestry. “Being a West Indian means that you a part of a society that is so much more than what it is seen for. Much more than sand, sea and sun. In the Caribbean, the various religions and cultures that make up our beautiful region intertwine so effortlessly to create a society where everyone is accepted and can truly live equally. Add that not only to the beauty of our islands but how familiar everyone is. Where neighbors and people around you feel like family when they aren’t. There’s truly no place like the Caribbean.”
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Caribbean Face #8 – St Lucia 🇱🇨 AbdulKarim was born in the UK to St Lucian parents and lives in London. He works with challenging behaviour across the board, dealing with mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and those with learning disabilities. Abdul Karim has mixed Caribbean ethnicities.
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Caribbean Face #9 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 Ahmad Ikhlas lives in London and is an Afro-Jamaican dubpoet combining Islamic and concious material. “I was born in the capital city of London my family is from the island Jamaica. I am of Afro-Caribbean origin. Being Caribbean means that I am part of a unique culture. There are significant commonalities amongst the various Islands regardless of origin.” You can check out Ahmad’s work at http://www.AhmadIkhlas.com or follow him on instagram @ahmadikhlasO
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Caribbean Face #10 – Barbados 🇧🇧 + Jamaica 🇯🇲 Yusuf “Smiley” Yearwood lives in West London and is a Project Risk Manager for TfL by day, passionate Novelist and Screenwriter by night. He is currently finishing he debut novel. He was born and raised in London of Jamaican and Bajan parents. “My father is from Barbados and Mum is from Jamaica. I feel more Bajan in some ways than generally Caribbean. So being Bajan is part of my overall identity. However, as a Black man I am mindful that I am a Free Man descended from the Freed and I don’t forget that or what my ancestors went through, and in that way I feel a sense of connection to all the African Diaspora because nationhood is negotiable. Allah created us as many nations so that we could know one another. “One and God make a majority.” ~Frederick Douglass” You can follow Yusuf on Twitter: @smiley_yearwood and on Instagram: @smileyontheinside.
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Caribbean Face #11- Trinidad 🇹🇹 Nazar is a Poultry Processing Plant Manager from Trinidad of Indian descent. “Being Indo Trinidadian means I am part of two beautiful cultures. Being of Indian heritage means that I am part of a rich Indian culture: various food, dress, religions. But being a Trinidadian means alot to me because we have our own unique culture. It is filled with various ethnicities, faces, cultures, food and many other facets of Caribbean life. Being Caribbean is a unique thing which brings together the best of different worlds and shares them with others. I am proud to be a Caribbean.”
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Caribbean Face #12 – Grenada 🇬🇩 + Barbados 🇧🇧 Miranda Munirah Williams is the Head of RE and Sociology in a secondary school. She is from – Grenada and Barbados of African descent. “The Caribbean to me symbolises my childhood, the long summers I spent in Grenada with my brother and mother. The sea, my grandmother’s cooking, playing games with my cousins, getting chased by dogs!! With age, I definitely don’t feel as connected to the Caribbean as I used to but it is still part of my roots and upbringing and will forever be somewhere I am proud to be from.”
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Caribbean Face #13 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 Abu Salahudeen Abdul Karim is a trained journalist by profession and is currently working within the area of Islamic medicine specialising in Hijima or Chinese cupping while finding time to express his poetry skills. He is British born and is half Jamaican of African descent and half White-British. “Being Caribbean to me is the will to survive the worst of circumstances: we survived slavery and neo colonialism and still went on to influence global food, music and politics. Without Marcus Garvey from Jamaica the global resurgence in African identity within the African Diaspora would have been severely stalled. Without Bob Marley putting his philosophy to music a generation of Black men and women would have never heard his message. In essence, that is were my journey to Islam began. My uncle would listen to Reggae with me, so I grew up with a subconscious belief of pride in my roots that was thankfully encouraged by my mother. My exposure to conscious Reggae gave me the perfect foundation to search for conscious Rap. Ironically, many of the founders of Rap were Caribbean in origin, (DJ Kool Herc for example, was Jamaican) so for me, being Caribbean is about remembering your African roots and standing up against oppression but looking and sounding good while you do it!”
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Caribbean Face #14 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 Aisha-Asher Morgan is a freelance writer, editor, journalist and social entrepreneur from West London. She is of Afro-Jamaican (Mbundu-Xaymacan) and English descent. Alongside her full-time studies in English Literature at Queen Mary University of London, Aisha writes creative think-pieces on her personal website and Instagram page under the pseudonym “Dotty Daughter Writes”. Aisha is currently in the process of developing her own social enterprise called “The Asma’u Network” alongside four other Muslim women of African and Caribbean heritage as a means to champion and empower the creative and entrepreneurial talents of women of a Muslim and African/Caribbean background. Aisha can be reached on the following handles: Website: http://www.dottydaughterwrites.com Instagram: @dottydaughterwrites LinkedIn: Aisha-Asher Morgan Email: dottydaughterwrites@gmail.com (1) “being caribbean. jamaican. mbundu-xaymacan. the world compartmentalised and refashioned in new form. taino. arawack. europe. africa. asia. arabia. brown and black exchange before the onset of european enlightenment. misdirection. discovery. western magnificence mistaken for eastern opulence. columbus. the indies. indigenous landscapes overturned by colonial aesthetics. bribery. smallpox. genocide. african civilisation overturned by transatlantic voyage. slavery. illegitimacy. sugar cane. plantation. patois. “for” becoming “fi” and “me” becoming “mi”. “you” becoming “yu” and “we” becoming “wi”. white power overturned by the same black and brown bodies deemed deficient in intellect and reason. ayiti. nanny. maroon. freedom. emancipation. fear. white nostalgia. free labour overturned by cheap labour. indian. chinese. middle eastern. irish. the land of wood and water outstretching its banks to accommodate all colours and creeds. hopes and dreams. white jesus overturned by black mosiah. yahweh. red, white and blue overturned by black, green and gold. ackee. doctor bird. topless arawackan bodies. one people. simplicity overturned by globalisation. migration. diaspora. dancehall. corporate exploitation and economic warfare. bauxite. debt. trade. hungry bellies. unemployment. violence. japanese entrepreneurs and chinese contruction workers setting foot on one of history’s most sought after territories. xaymaca. pot-holes smoothed over by toll-roads. progress. countrysides transforming into cities. clarendon. shanty houses displaced to make tourist advertisements more palpable to the unseeing foreign eye. kingston. running water cut off from entire communities of poor people prior to election-time. frankfield. jlp and pnp violence. corruption. elderly feet shuffling to the sounds of the morning rooster grazing on red earth wetted by centuries of confusion. chaos. peace. love. winston. charles. dotty. my grandparents. humble trailblazers of change. coconut trees whispering daily the affirmation that life goes on. yes, every day. life goes on. 2017. dotty’s daughter. writer extraordinaire. mbundu-xaymacan in exile. fingerprints and hair follicles silently screaming out to a world marred by fog and mist, day-oh, day-oh. mi waan go home. (2) “who are mbundu-xaymacans?” the Mbundu are a tribe of people in what is commonly known today as Angola. it is here where my African roots lie (amongst other regions and tribes, although I have yet to rediscover these). “Xaymaca” is the indigenous Arawackan term for Jamaica, an island in the Caribbean, and it means, in the native Arawackan/Taino tongue “The Land of Wood and Water.” although I am not, as far as I’m aware, of Carib Taino/Arawackan ancestry, I recognise the fact that the land I now affectionately call “home” bears the blood of its original indigenous peoples, and I honour them by reclaiming their original terms, not to make claim to an ethnic heritage that is not necessarily mine, but rather to (re)educate and (re)enlighten others on this violent and forgotten history wherever I can. thus “Mbundu-Xaymacan” is a recognition of these two heritages: my Mbundu (Angolan) ancestors who were transported to Xaymaca (Jamaica) via the transatlantic slave trade, and who were transformed, through a violent process of assimilation, into “Jamaicans”, “West Indians”, “Caribbeans” and every other term that we now associate with them. am I proud to be Mbundu-Xaymacan? absolutely. my Mbundu-Xaymacan heritage is, to me, a reminder of our great and profound resilience. our never-ending capacity to endure and survive. our ability to live life to the fullest in spite of the BS that we were historically handed. our determination to create dynamic and transformative ways of expressing ourselves and our mutual heritages. my mother tongue is Patois, not Mbundu. but Patois still carries that Mbundu heritage. and whereas others might be ashamed to associate themselves with this so-called backwards language – where those still recovering from a colonial mentality choose to run away from it – I run towards it, because guess what? my ancestors were so genius that they were able to create an entirely new language and mode of communication that not even their white “superiors” could access and understand. that, to me, is what enabled them to be the master strategists and freedom fighters that they were. how could I not be proud of that? I am and I always will be.”
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Caribbean Face #15 – Trinidad 🇹🇹- Danjuma Bihari currently lives in London and has extensively travelled. His studies included History and Political Science at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Anthropology at SOAS in London. He was born in London and went back to Trinidad at the age of 5 until 23.
Danjuma is mixed with Arab, Indian and Afrcian; his pternal grandfather coming from Oman and grandmother from South India. “I am counter narrative to most Caribbeans. I was brought up by my father when my parents seperated and while my generation was born in the Caribbean and came to the UK as kids, I was born here but was brought up at home, as a Trini, not an Afro Saxon. I am racially mixed 3 ways, but that is among the least mixture in a place like Trinidad.”
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Caribbean Face #16 – Barbados 🇧🇧& Jamaica 🇯🇲- @lovmylocs_n Is a nurse in a Children’s Outpatients Department. She is from Barbadosband Jamaica of African descent and has maroon blood flowing through her veins! “I feel honoured to have taken part in Caribbean Faces. I always feel strongly influenced by my Caribbean roots. For me there is no other way of life. I grew up with my grandparents, my late grandmother Jamaican and my grandfather is Bajan. We have traditional foods from both islands, from eating escovitch fish with dumpling and nanny to pudding souse with steam breadfruit. I always had an equal contribution from both islands and am blessed to be a real real Bajan Jamaican. I couldn’t imagine not being this way. I’m sure I have a trident in my soul and bleed gold, green and black.”
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Caribbean Face #17- Jamaica 🇯🇲 –
Ibrahim is a Digital Marketing Manager for Carphone Warehouse and currently lives in Hayes. He is Jamaican of mixed ancestry. “Assalaamu alaikum (Peace be upon you). I was born and bred in London whilst both parents were born in Jamaica (Trelawny and Negril). A large proportion of my lineage spans across countries such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria, UK, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. I recently found out that a large percentage of my DNA can be traced from the Luhya people, a Bantu ethic group in Kenya that is made up of 19 tribes! (I am still researching which tribe I’m from however). Whilst a smaller percentage can be traced to the Aka people (who live in southwestern Central African Republic). Although I may not necessarily ‘feel’ Caribbean as I was born and bred in London (and me trying to talk Patwa is often questionable…so I do not even attempt it, lol). Attempting to be closer to my Caribbean heritage means embracing the culture first and foremost which can be done in a numbers of ways (especially engaging with the older generation of my family to speak about life in Jamaica). Also reading and enquiring about other family members who live in the Caribbean are important stepping stones to finding out much more about my background.” You can follow Ibrahim on instagram @ibraheem_Fresh
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Caribbean Face #18 – Jamaica 🇯🇲 – Andrew Fletcher is a Gym Manager, Personal Trainer and Course Tutor from West London. His mum is Jamaican with a mix of Chinese and his Dad is Egyptian with a mix of Greek.
“To me, being Caribbean means coming from a vibrant culture of bright colours, universally accepted music, tasty food… and cool accents!” You can follow Andrew on his Instagram @intactfitness

 

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