Revista Nueva Realidad(RNR): Tell us about yourself, your full name, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Abiola Ajadi but as an artist you can call me NAFI, I am 27. I am a singer songwriter and recording artist. I am from Nigeria; I live in Manchester.
RNR: What kind of music?
NAFI: So, I have been able to now categorise myself as the R & B and Soul singer so, I will be so.
RNR: I would like to ask you about the Black Lives Matter(BLM), what do you think about this social movement?
NAFI: I love the Black Lives Matter movement, when this first started I was having a conversation with my little brother and, I was like, okay I get that BLM but, you know, I was on the side of ALM and he was like, yes but, all lives always mattered but, black lives matter, because that’s the only life that seems to be wasted everyday so, you can say all life matters if you want but, out of all the lives mattered, who’s dying the most? I said black. The moment that black lives matters then all lives matters.
It was confusing for me at first; I needed to educate myself, know my rights, know my history. I thought about it, the one thing that was constant, was the death of black people, and I said to him like I get it, that’s what we need to be about right now so, I changed the tune, I began to say Black Lives Matter, BLM. We are experiencing racism for asking, we are experiencing racism for the way we look, or the way our noses shaped, or the way we carry our hair, we cannot have locs because this is not going to be classified as a professional hair in a work setting, you know, like, it just I started to think about all of the things that I had gone through from the moment I got into this country.
I became angry, I became very very angry, I became well educated (started researching and asking question), I became well grounded, I felt like, do you know? my black is gold and you could not be killing the blood of my blood because of the skin, actually a birth a song of me called Golden that I played for you earlier, and because I felt like I don’t know how else to talk about this, and then in one of the verse I said: “is my black to celebrate it for you”, I got that from my friends actually, “because I see the despise behind your eyes, waging war been making noise, digging in their corners all for cheap applause, I’ve been a hero in my hometown, making mothers proud of father`s pray aloud, its true we all got demons that we’re coming for, but I’ve been out here feeling like a minimum”, and that’s because society, makes us feel like that we are less than we are because of the our skin.
Because we are actually in effect superior, like they see the facts themselves, the doctors can tell you that we are superior based on the melanin of our skin, we are resourceful, we are resilient. I work in the mental health setting and when I hear the way a couple of these elderly would regard me, one would tell me “ohh yeah, sweep that for me, that’s my good slave, that’s my good girl” they are mentally challenged but it doesn’t take the racism away from them because that shit, excuse my language, but that shit is inborn, like it’s embedded in them.
I feel like when we’re outside our country, where we are from, it’s always going to be like that, there’s a saying in Yoruba and says: “a King doesn’t get much respect when it’s outside of his Kingdom”, when you’re out of your Kingdoms’ jurisdiction nobody knows you, nobody respects you, do you know how many Kings and Queens, Prince and Princesses we have living amongst us? because they have left their villages, their Kingdom looking for greener pastures. I mean, there are Prince and princesses, Kings and Queens working as cleaners in first world countries, and when they go back home, they wear a Crown, people bowed to their feet, but in this country or any other country outside their home nobody recognizes that, that title is nothing.
I mean, is funny the first time that I ever felt discriminated against was by a black person, and they were Jamaican but they were British born and, they basically got like a couple of people to surround me yet again and like, she was just saying: “ah! You are dark”, she called me midnight, that was it, they were laughing at me like “hahaha, you look dirty, your blacker than day light, you’re like midnight” and that’s how she regarded to me, when I looked back at her, we were practically the same reflection of skin complexion, that really upset me like, how can you call me that?. Then, when I was younger, I had a boy was sent to me by a group of girls, was sent to me because they asked him to spit on me so, he came to me, I was just like, yo can help you? And he brought out phlegm and spat right here on my forehead and I ran after him, I remember my teacher Mrs Cooper, my music teacher, I ran after him I called him into the music recording eight block, that was a music block, accorded him downstairs, and I had my elbow round his chin up, hang him up and I was like, how dare you spit on me? do you know who I am? trying to make him understand that you do not spit on a goddess! trying to make him understand that you do not disrespect me like that!! do you know who I belong to? do you know who my father is? do you know who my mother is? how dare you do that to me? like I was very very angry and then the teachers like “ohh Abi no, it’s not worth it, I’ve never seen you like that” I was like: “do you see my forehead, Mrs. is up to you back down and suspend me now but I’m gonna have my way with this boy” “ who sent you? because I don’t know you, you don’t know me, so somebody must have sent it to me, told me, who? Why? he said “because they just said coz just respond at black girl, innit?” so because I’m black you spit on my forehead? that was like in year 10. You just get along, you know what I mean?
I remember this boss liked me, and I was the only black girl there, he was fixated on me, wanting to take me home at day, he was like “ yeah, you know, I’ve never met anyone like you before, you know, like you are black, like you are an African Princess”, and I’m like: “ African Princess?” he was like “ so yea, but there’s something different about you, you know? And I was like: “do you see the crown? it’s clear that you see the crown? and you just wanna try it out because you’ve never tried it before?” so I felt fetish, is it fetishized? I was like “so I’m so sort of fetish for you now eh? because I have it and it is a different skin, and you wanna see if it actually taste like chocolate or what? he was my manager at the time so, I was put in a situation where I was sure of how to handle all of this advances towards me, and when I was leaving he was pushing me coming up with him and his son, like it just felt weird, I don’t like it in a workplace. And you have the subliminal ones as well, where like they give you the bad jobs to do, the job roles that nobody wants to do, they found a way to give it to you, and your thinking is exactly like, you never know if it’s actually because you’re black or not, sometimes you start to make up these ideas in your mind as well like, are they doing this because I’m black?. I’ve been running away from being an activist coz I don’t think I’m an activist, think I’m a speaker. I think I just have a big heart and I just wanna share, I’m thinking with anyone that shares the same ideas as me, but I’m more than happy, more than willing to keep using my platform to say no to racism at all costs.