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  • Jamal Gerald

Trinidad - Part 2

Hey you, what’s good? I’m currently coming to the end of my time in Trinidad. I’m getting so emotional just thinking about it. The thought of going back to the UK is just so heartbreaking. Eurgh. But, I have to go back to reality at some point. During my time here, I feel like I’ve gone quite off topic in terms of my research. Although, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I do believe that I’ve learnt way more by engaging with people and doing things instead of just reading. So many things have happened within such a short space of time. And time has also gone by way too fast. It’s been so unreal. Like I said in my previous post, I have been keeping track of things that I’ve heard and seen whilst being here. So, here’s some more:


A woman in Subway looked down at me for wearing coconut oil. I didn’t know this at first, but there was a time when coconut oil was associated with poverty in Trinidad and Tobago. Which is crazy to me because it’s so good for you. I was laughed at because I asked: “Do you have any shower gel?”. I was later told that it was because of my accent. I met a taxi driver called Tyrick, who ended up driving me around three times. He’s a charmer and a great storyteller. I don’t know what it is, but I swear the alcohol in Trinidad is so much stronger than the UK. Like, it’s ridiculous. When I first came here, I saw a man that looked exactly like my father. And I mean the exact same image of my father. I was so close to going up to the man. I’ve also seen people that look a lot like friends and other family members. I asked a man for a bin, but he handed me his pen. I was told that I look Ethiopian. I’ve been told that I look East African quite a lot before. I saw some Trinidadians dancing and singing along to the Spice Girls. I travelled in a maxi from Arima to Port of Spain and then back a few days later. So yes, I’ve seen a whole lot and more.


A highlight would have to be The Dotish Tour, something that I will never forget. I got the chance to honour and reconnect with my ancestors, which is something that was so special for me. I felt a presence during the tour and I freaked out and I had to leave the space. The day before this, I felt something quite spiritual as well, but I won’t be going into detail about that on here. I also felt something spiritual the day after the tour. I’m now going through a spiritual transition because of it. However, I’m still in the early stages and I have a lot more to learn. I was quite anxious and hesitant at first, but now I’m much more open. It’s kind of like a performance, I’m always nervous before I perform and then I perform and I’m fine. So, I guess I’m currently performing.


I have stories about men that I’ve engaged with whilst here. Some positive, some negative. There’s also a thing here about feeling wanted by black queer men. Something I don’t always feel within the UK. I literally have to go across the pond to get some attention, lol. It’s always been in the Caribbean and the USA where I felt like black men genuinely have an interest in me. And I wonder why that is. There’s black queer men who will rush and be with a white man before ever looking in my direction. But, I digress.


Emancipation was such a beautiful day. Even though it did rain a lot, it was great to see so many people committed to celebrating Emancipation. A day of singing and dancing to Orisha songs in the rain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many black people in touch with their ancestry before. I was living my best life, even though I ended up so wet!


I feel like I have a lot of reflecting to do. There’s so much to process and to unpack. But, I look forward to doing this reflection and to see what comes out of it. I’ve been so inspired and moved by this trip, I can’t even put it into words the impact it has had on me. I will definitely be coming back to Trinidad someday. Hopefully soon!


Special thanks to Alice Yard and EAST YARD for hosting me whilst being here, you’re both really great spaces. I’m happy you both exist. And to Arielle John for being a great friend and for showing me the best bits of Trinidad and Tobago, you’re a diamond.


Peace, Love & Harmony!


J xxx

© 2019 Jamal Gerald

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