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Why The Queen’s Passing Will Mean Something Different Across Generations Of Black People

The sadness was not substantial, but it was complex. It was a very average summation of pity that one might expect after hearing the news of a stranger’s death, but it was uncertain and encased in shame. How could I – a Jamaican-British, second generation immigrant in my late twenties – be moved by the passing of the Queen? 

The embarrassment pushed me to interrogate my emotions and I quickly realised that many of my sombre sentiments were not my own but were being felt vicariously through my mother and because of mainstream media. My mum had already updated me about feeling “really, really sad” so I suppose I felt that through our closeness. My “grief” was missing an authenticity.

As messages from friends started to roll into group chats, their tones resonated with me more than my own original “sadness” did. My 20-something-year-old, Black, millennial buddies spoke respectfully of the Queen, but more importantly, their respects came accompanied by acknowledgements of her involvement in systemic injustice and global brutalities.