We as humanity all have historical trauma in our DNA: I believe the people doing racist things are deserving of our empathy. On my posts, I see white people commenting on my photos where I’m discussing my Africanness. They might say they lived in Kenya for a time or even say something naive about my experience of discrimination. And I see people of colour are triggered by the colour of their skin and begin to snap back at who they see as their oppressors. But I see them both as my brothers and sisters, and I can’t be myself without both. So it saddens me deeply to see my family fighting amongst each other when all I want is to introduce one and another to each other. Because this ongoing family feud has been orchestrated by people who have long since been buried, and the more we continue to perpetuate the divisions, despite the fact we may think we’re empowering ourselves, the more they’ll be grinning from their graves. I posted on Instagram a screenshot from an FKA Twigs video: she was playing with a white woman’s hair in a restaurant, a hilarious irony. I posted as a caption a reconstruction of a woman doing that to me. But then I had a thought. What is the purpose of this post? Is it to punish her remotely? She may never even see this. No. I’m going to bring light into her life and give her the tools to unteach herself what the power hungry had set out to turn into fact all those hundreds of years ago. At first, she was horrified. She asked me “Did a woman really do that to you? That’s awful! It’s like she’s treating you like an exotic doll!” I’d allowed her to see it objectively and then told her she was the woman it was inspired by. And I explained I resisted the urge to seek revenge and chose love. Because my job as an artist is as a bringer of light to people living in ignorance. Her life has been changed forever, and even as I typed the message, the waves of emotion I felt were like the waves of history pushing back at me.


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