Now, I knew that the play was based on the experiences of Black British women so when I got there, before the play started, I reminded myself that being Black African I needed to be as open-minded AND objective as possible, however, by the first line: "White girl I wish I was, I wish I was....don't say it, ..., I wish I was YOU!" I was like, oh no you didn't!
I thought, "I've never wanted to be white, EVER! I love being black...I am NOT going to like this play" but fortunately, within five minutes I'd changed my mind because I realized what had been said was completely true, the actors weren't saying they wanted white skin but that they had the privileges that came with it: going to shops and finding products that were designed to work with your skin tone or your hair type and so on; they wanted to have grown up with dolls that resembled them and teenage glossy magazines that reflected their own image - who doesn't want that?
The quality of the writing, the well-structured sentences, came through and the acting did the play justice. It was very well acted by all.
Ultimately, the play was about admitting to and overcoming the insecurities that plague the Black British woman:
- There was the Caribbean girl who's mother sat her down regularly to do her hair and proceeded with a barrage of complaints against the establishment, e.g. the British told us we'd have equal access to everything when they convinced us to come here from the Caribbean; the usual requests to keep still; she also taught her little one about the requirement for a girl to look good in order to attract a man into her life. Personally, I loved the accent the most. There was a lot laughter from the audience in this scene as those that were Caribbean could relate to much of what was being said.
- Then half-breed, the mixed race girl who was raised by her single white mother but was considered black by her white peers - yet, given her home situation she didn't feel black. With her black father absent from her life (he impregnated her mother during a brief fling) she knew as much about black culture as her white counterparts - basically very little.
- Then there was the teenage girl who'd been humiliated by being called "butters" (i.e. ugly) by the boy she'd had a crush on since she was 10. She went on to beautify herself with weaves - she argued it was her prerogative to weave her hair and frankly, it is. Some might argue that if she's wearing weaves because she's been told she's not beautiful with her own her then she's doing it for the wrong reason but let's face it, how many of us beautify for "the right reason".
- Then bounty, the black girl who was accused of being black on the outside but had "betrayed" her roots by dating white men and having white hobbies. I probably related to her the most being married to a white man. However, in my case when my Malawian friends told me I had "white" hobbies I wasn't offended because my hobbies were not typically Malawian - girls my age don't usually keep bees where I'm from!
- Then there was the girl who shaved off her hair and immediately started to regret it. At this point, I was starving - I left to get a snack and unfortunately missed the rest.
- Then came the girl with dreadlocks. She goes into a shop to buy cocoa butter and is being convinced she needs to sort her hair out with a weave but she's arguing against that, "I came here to get cocoa butter, I don't need no weave", again, I loved the Caribbean accent.
- Finally, there was the blunt white girl who lacked self-awareness. She meets a black person soliciting petitions on the street and starts to ask the most awkward questions. The "victim" fails to escape on two occasions. It was quite funny because the white girl was blatantly oblivious to the discomfort of her victim.
All the acting was done in the form of a soliloquy and was very well executed. Some parallels can also be drawn here with the African American experience.
A Black African like myself (and Leillah) who was brought up where we the majority will probably walk away asking themselves many questions and considering things that perhaps they may not have considered before.
In summary: a thought provoking, worthy watch! Book your ticket here.