Growing up in my working class hometown of Barry in South Wales, I spent most of my teenage years waiting to escape, resenting the lack of opportunities, the people and the outlook. Before leaving for university, I’d go for walks by the sea with friends and talk about the type of person I’d invent myself into in my new city, romanticising what it would be like to start fresh. After a brief stint in London then a few years in Cheltenham, I moved back to Wales with a creative writing degree under my belt and a whole new perspective on my Welsh identity and culture.
Wales is home to many communities of colour, particularly in South Wales, though Welsh history is often white-washed. Cardiff’s Tiger Bay (now known as Butetown) is home to some of the UK’s oldest black communities, with seamen settling to work in the docks of Cardiff, Barry and Newport. People that grew up in Tiger Bay talk nostalgically about it pre-gentrification as a beacon of multicultural communities living in harmony by sharing their culture, food and traditions with each other. My grandfather migrated from Barbados with his nan in the early 60s at 11, later joined by his parents, and they all made Cardiff home.