You’re reading My Black History, a series of personal reflections from Black women in the UK on the meeting point of history and life lessons.
I’m five and High School Musical is playing on the TV in our front room. You know the scene when Sharpay and Ryan are singing, ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’? Well, I’ve taken it upon myself to play Sharpay, of course, while my younger sister, more or less my sidekick, is doing Ryan’s bits of the song.
My time at primary school definitely sowed these seeds. Growing up in Dublin, I was always performing in a school show, whether it was Annie, Grease or Hairspray – and if not a musical, a nativity play. Now at 20 and studying in London, I’m on the constant hunt for tickets to the latest West End production. The feeling of being in a fancy theatre during a stellar performance is unmatched, particularly after Covid forced them to go dark for so long.
Storytellers are the touchstones of society – they’re what keep us active and running. I’m Yorùbá and my ethnic groupis originally from West Africa, a region that is home to storytelling in all its forms, be it literature, theatre, dance or the arts. In West Africa, our stories have been kept alive by the tradition of the griots. In simple terms, a griot is a storyteller, musician, poet or singer.
I grew up watching Nollywood with my family and old Nollywood has my heart! From the fashion, how quintessentially Nigerian the films were, the chaos and, of course, the hilarious plots. Watching Nollywood while getting my hair braided was a major staple and Girls Cot was one of my favourites, featuring the A-List Nollywood actresses, Ini Edo, Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic and Uche Jombo.