Hi, I’m Natasha, I am 45. My ethnic background is half Guyanese, half Nigerian. My mother is (and grandmother from Guyana was) Rastafari from the start of the movement in the mid 1930’s. My mum is one of 10 children that we know of. My mum was baptised and given her Rasta name by the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie which makes her proper blessed! My mum and grandmother experienced racism far more than I in the 50’s and 60’s as when they came over with dreadlocks this was even worse than just being black. Black with dreadlocks was seen as something almost demonic back then. My mum has started to grow hers back so we’re full circle now and no-one cares of course. Some people still have this view of Rastafari people as, I don’t know, just pot heads who hate, or are violent Yardies. Not in my experience, ever. Words that spring to mind from the Rastafari Empresses & Kings I know are: Jah, Peace loving, Spiritual, Harmony, Health, Strength, Wealth, & Blessings. They’re the least prejudiced people I know they have a lot of prejudice and judgement foisted upon them. I come from a multi-cultural, multi-faith family. I’m just an angelic being of light. I couldn’t choose. My mum married my adoptive dad, who happened to be white, when I was born. So he was the only Dad I ever knew. Crouch End was a fairly middle class inclusive village at the time so I never felt any racial separation or judgement and my mum was a big part of the community. She had many kids, looked after others children, took in waifs and strays. If anything when I was really young in the 70’s my white Dad received a couple of comments as to why he had a black child/children but he always handled it with tolerance and humour and honesty.
We rented out spare rooms to students so I met people of all persuasions and I loved it. They used to hang around the house all the time with me and my brothers and sisters (i’m one of 7 from my Mum & Dad), so I grew up being open and tolerant of everyone, no matter what. I used to spend a lot of time with Dad going to the Buddhist society and meditating with monks from about age 3 or 4. That was our Saturday when I was small up to my mid 20’s, meditating and then going to see Spurs play. Anyway a lot of it rubbed off on me, so when I hear stories of racial abuses, they never resonated except on a genuine empathetic level, as I was taught that racism is the racists problem. So racism weirdly seemed like an alien concept to me. And that’s the conditioning I had.
My dad being Buddhist and a martial artist, also had very strong spiritual beliefs that if you go out angry about anything (including racial injustice) or fearful or live in expectation of anything negative, in fact, it will find you. It’s like a call to the universe: this is what I want, as the universe doesn’t recognise whether you want it or not, just that you feel it and think it so of course the Universe brings you what you fear, drawing in experiences of what you feel and think. So with that consciousness of not believing in racism at a spiritual level (as spirit is truth, racism is not truth). I thankfully have only ever had one experience my whole life having been told to ‘go back to where you came from’ which I couldn’t even be bothered to get angry about. I just laughed at him. And told him I was from the place I came from, London. However it was further South and started giving him directions. It literally made no sense so treated it for the idiotic comment that it was. And he was silenced. Does that mean I don’t stand up for people? No, not a chance. The Stephen Lawrence case disturbed me greatly as we were the same age. The behaviour of the establishment and media really opened my eyes then. I think every generation has that moment. Governments may not care, but people do. I hope the BLM movement does effect lasting change. My take on it is that as long as they keep going, don’t give up. What happens is that these racist events will still happen, but what is evolving is more and more people against it. I live in hope. These days, I haven’t really changed. I still meditate, but on my own.
To me love is all that matters. It’s the only thing that is real. The picture above is me with one of my nephews, who is my soulmate who I spend as much time with as possible with. I have a huge multi-racial family, both from bloodlines and in-laws. I think there’s hundreds of us all around the world from England to Nigeria, Guyana, St Lucia, Grenada, New York, San Fran, Cork/Ireland, Wales, Somalia, Sweden, Scotland, Georgia (the country) and France. So I just say i’m basically related to everyone. None of us see any colour. Only love. I wish BLM had used Love is all that Matters instead. No-one can argue with that. Not as catchy though is it. Shalom. Amen. Jah Bless. Om. Shanti. Salam. Peace. Love, Natasha