Ik verwachtte een soort Jamaicaans-Britse Bridget Jones, maar al snel ontdekte ik dat deze roman een sterke, beschrijving is van de specifieke problemen van een jonge zwarte vrouw in een grote stad. Ik ben zo blij dat ik dit heb gelezen omdat ik daardoor iets meer begrijp van het alledaagse, frustrerende racisme dat Queenie en veel mensen zoals zij doormaken. Dat gezegd hebbende, het is ook een grappig, ontroerend en heel menselijk verhaal – ik juich Queenie van harte toe.
We went to slide our way inside and were stopped by a drunk girl with short pink hair who reached out and ran her hands through my twists like they weren’t attached to my scalp.
`OhmygodIlovethemsomuuuch!’ she gasped, mesmerised.
`What the fuck do you think you’re doing?’ Kyazike said, grabbing the girl by the wrist and pushing her hand away. ‘You can’t do that!’
`Oh my god,’ the girl whimpered, clutching her wrist as if Kyazike had snapped it.
`Don’t fucking touch people like they’re your property!’ Kyazike shouted at the girl. ‘You dickhead!’
The girl’s friend hurried around her and cooed over her drunkenly as Kyazike and I started to walk away, me tucking my hair into my scarf so that we didn’t have a repeat performance.
`What’s going on here?’ A bouncer with dyed red hair that matched a tight T-shirt straining over his muscles appeared suddenly from the darkness and put each of his giant hands on mine and Kyazike’s shoulders.
`Eh, take your hands off me.’ Kyazike stepped away from him. ‘Ask her what’s going on.’ She gestured at my handler.
`I was only being nice,’ the blonde girl said, look-ing with big blinking eyes at the bouncer.
`Right, you two, you’ll have to leave.’ The bouncer put his hand back on Kyazike’s shoulder and pushed us towards the door.
`We’re leaving your shit club anyway,’ Kyazike told him. ‘But if you like your clientele reaching out to touch black people like we’re animals in a petting zoo, then fair play, innit.’
Kyazike went off to Old Kent Road while I sat on the bus home, absolutely astonished and yet still not entirely shocked by what had happened in the club. It was unfair, whichever way you looked at it, and was pretty indisputable evidence that even in Brixton, where we were meant to be the majority, we weren’t. Another reminder that we, and our needs, didn’t matter. Before I got off the bus, I made an internal list of people who could touch my hair.
2. A hairdresser
3. That’s it, that’s the whole list.
Citaat pagina 121-122, er is inmiddels een Nederlandse vertaling.
Terry McMillan – Stella’s minaar
Sheila Williams – Juanita – film
Gina Yashere – Live at the Apollo – Stand up comedy over alledaags racisme