Tag Archives: new york

Corporate dreadlocs and other stories

Back in 2008, I wrote a piece that argued thus, on the subject of my preferred “hairstyle”:

I am my hair. I am challenging, I am defiant, I do not apologize.

And the next time some Wall Street multimillionaire or Oxbridge-educated middle-aged perpetually entitled white British editor encounters a twenty-something <insertracehere> woman from the Caribbean, or someone with locs, he will pause.

He will pause because he will remember someone else who was more than the stereotype.
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On nomadism

I wrote this, elsewhere, three months ago:

I am a stranger. I am estranged. I am a person without a country, without people, without kin.

I rely more often on the kindness of strangers than the loyalty of friends. I watch those I love and loved and lost create lives in which I play no part. I am apart.

This, I think, describes the primary challenge of a Caribbean expat (exile?), genus young, gifted and alone.

It is the very definition of an existential crisis.

The last time I went to Tobago, and upon checking in to Toucan Inn & Bonkers, I proffered a Trinidadian drivers’ license [accepted nowhere in Manhattan as a form of ID], a UK credit card and a US address.

My tax lawyers disagree as to my country of residence, a question I dither over every time I am confronted with the question on immigration forms.

Trying to renew my passport, I am stymied because I don’t know anyone here who fits the criteria for a “recommender” [sic]: has known me for three years, is not a close relative, is an “accomplished professional.”

Need to renew my US visa – easier to do that in the UK than in Trinidad, where I will be asked to demonstrate my “strong ties” to the country [the better to prove I am not a potential illegal immigrant]. Which I can’t prove I have – no Trinidadian bank account, no property in my name, job based overseas.

So it go.

On knee-high boots on a tropical island, and other absurdities


That word, that exclamation, that question-almost-rhetorical, defines my reaction to the Trinidad I have witnessed over the past two weeks.

Women wearing knee-high leather boots on a sweltering hot day? Seriously? A Maserati roaring past on the highway? Seriously? Seven dollars for a loaf of bread? Eight dollars for chewing gum? Seriously?

And so on, and so forth.

We are trying so hard to be Miami, London, New York – any where but here, and everyone but ourselves.

But these are trappings only, because those leather boots must trod garbage-strewn streets and that Maserati must contend with potholes aplenty.

And I – don’t quite know how I feel about this. Incredulity prevails.