Being black, there was like a separate category of person because I didn’t grow up in the States. I grew up most of my life in Haiti where everybody is black. So having to come and deal with the social dynamic of not just being myself but being someone who represents black people, represents black women, it’s a different kind of…having a national identity become a racial identity has been a very weird thing.
How I Remember Haiti
I was 9 when I moved here. I remember the humming birds and hibiscus trees. There was a lot of that when I was growing up. And my grandmother had a garden. I remember this feeling of togetherness that’s different from a national identity as like [being] an American.
My Hair Story
I’ve done a lot of things to my hair. I’ve bleached it, dyed it, I’ve had weave, every kind of hair style in the world. I thought that it was kind of limiting how black women are only allowed to be natural or whatever. It’s your hair, it grows back. When I was growing up, my grandmother used to always get really mad because she was like, you’re one of the few people who have longer hair in the family so you should be proud. Even when I go home today she says, ‘I can’t believe you shaved your head. You just want to look like a man.’ My best friend’s parents are like, how is your boyfriend okay with this? You can’t cut your hair like a boy. So my hair has been a place where I can battle other people’s idea’s about me. But sometimes it causes me problems. Like one time I had purple hair and this group of white boys were driving down the street and they started screaming smurf at me.