Black History Month means different things to everyone, whether that be reflecting on the past or celebrating the culture. For me, I like to reflect on my personal life; not just in February, but I found that now it is especially important to do so.

My Caribbean playlist filled with the most summery tunes - “where did you hear this one from?” my mum asks. How could I forget waking up on a Sunday morning to reggae music playing? Don’t get me wrong, I was mad about being woken up in the morning hours, and at the time could not properly appreciate the music. Let’s be real though every black child has learnt growing up that the music has always been a vibe. It definitely brightens up any day which has especially helped during lockdown; artists like Beres Hammond and Sanchez are just a couple to name.

Just writing this makes me think about the best food and the family BBQs in the summer time - you cannot beat it! Don’t get me wrong, ten year old me would have been sitting in the corner, waiting for my mum to finish dancing with my aunties so I could go home, but now there is no better feeling than some good food and music, especially when I have been without it for so long (during this pandemic).

My mouth is watering now thinking of oxtail, rice and peas, mac and cheese, fried dumplings (also known as bakes, which I have to add coming from a Grenadian/Jamaican background); I could be here all day listing all of the foods. This alone, when I’m in my element can make me forget that I am in fact eating this in England (one can dream). Having oxtail regularly in lockdown was enough to brighten up a bad day.

One of the things I especially cannot wait for are the return of the family parties, especially when the family members you weren’t expecting to turn up do. The amount of people I would see at these parties who somehow remember me from when I was a baby. The awkward introductions that seem to happen at every party always remind me of how big my family network is, and how lucky I am to have this. I just enjoy seeing all of the family together, from newborns, to the last standing individual from their generation.

Even though I’m an only child the amount of cousins and other family members I have make up for it. I really started to realise this at funerals. I obviously would not lose a family member for the world, but the last family funeral I attended just put into perspective how big my family unit is and how at the end of the day we will always be there for each other, especially living in such a small town. Honestly, you would have thought it was a celebrity funeral - the church was full.

This is more important than ever with black people, in current times. Seeing constant bad news, especially last year after George Floyd was murdered, takes a toll on black people, which is why this family network I have is so positive. Being able to try and take our minds off it with good food, music and others around us is so vital, and what a lot of us have been missing during lockdown. Hopefully the normalities of being surrounded by more faces will resume very soon, so we can finally get back to celebrating being black and what that means to us!