- 24 Nov 21
Celaviedmai shares her thoughts and experiences as part of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism.
Rapper & Songwriter
I come from Galway. You might think that because it’s living out in the countryside almost, that there wouldn’t be that many Black people there – well there are now! I didn’t observe that much racism in Galway, but I’ve noticed since I moved to Dublin, that living in a bigger city, racism seems to be more prevalent.
I used to live life through such a rose-tinted window, where it was all love and peace and positivity. I used to be very social. I used to love going out, hanging out with people, but I think it’s maybe because, in Galway, I was so sheltered.
Whereas now, I’m starting to see how things like covert racism can affect you. It’s not so in your face, and that’s why I think a lot of people can’t comprehend that there is racism in Ireland. They assume that because you’re not using any derogatory terms that you’re not racist.
It’s unfortunate that it took something like the murder of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests for people to wake up and be like, “Oh, you matter too.”
I moved to Dublin during the lockdown. When things started opening back up, I would go on nights out and I would be on my own and people would say things to me. You just kind of feel like, “I can’t protect myself in this situation at all.” It has kind of affected me going out as well. I just don’t feel safe.
Since BLM, I’m trying to explain these things to people. But it gets so exhausting, having to speak on it all the time. Sometimes you just feel like giving up and not talking about it because some people don’t want to understand you. It’s not genuinely, “I want to hear what you’re saying so that I can work on myself.” It’s: “I want to listen to what you’re saying so that I can fight you.”
I wish it wasn’t that way, because I feel like there’s so many talented people of colour in Ireland that could bring the community together – that everyone could share different experiences to make something great.
If you don’t understand something, first of all ask. And really try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. I’ve realised that a lot of people, especially people who are racist, lack empathy. Without empathy you can’t understand how something can affect somebody else. All I can tell you is what I experience on a daily basis, and what my family or my friends have experienced.
What people don’t realise is that – if being a Black person is tough, being a Black woman is excruciatingly tough. Already, being a woman, I think we’re overlooked. We’re already treated like trash. We constantly have to worry about our safety in this world, walking down streets or whatever. But then on top of that, being Black, now you have two things to attack me about. It’s too much sometimes.
On the plus side, there’s more representation now when it comes to Black people. I’m certainly starting to see a few more Black people in white spaces. It’s not 100% there, but if that continues, the next generation coming up will have somebody that looks like them to look up to, which is great. I wish I had that when I grew up in Ireland.
So there is change. I really believe that the more you speak up and the more you fight for what you believe in, the more change will come. It’s beautiful to see, and I’m so grateful and happy to be alive at this point in time – because honestly when I started doing music, I think that was my heart’s desire. To see people that look like me achieve something so great through music in Ireland. That genuinely makes me really, really happy.
Read Part 1 of 100 Voices: #AllAgainstRacism, in the current issue of Hot Press. Available to pick up in shops now, or to order online below:
Special thanks to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for their support in this project.