HOME: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

 

I remember just like it was yesterday how damn good it felt to be home. Or at least what what like home to me. I took this picture standing in the ocean in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. The journey to Providenciales became quite a soul searching journey for me. A lot of terrible things happened to me when I was on the island and a lot of beautiful and spectacular things happened to me while I was on the island. Despite the good, bad and in between I got so much closer to finding out whom I truly was and who I am meant to be. I have always been proud of being black, my racial identity is something I’ve held very close to my heart and cared very much about, On the other hand, I like many other black people in America do not know my ethnicity due to the history of slavery. I could be Jamaican, Somali, Sudanese, Nigerian, Trinidadian, Native, Guyanese, Cuban, Malian, etc. but me and my ancestors were robbed of that knowledge after my people were sold into slavery. So rather than being proud to represent my ethnic heritage, I was left with the choice to be proud of my racial identity, that was socially constructed by the white man and when people ask me what I am I simply respond….. ”I am black” not because Im trying to be secretive or curt but simply  because that is all that I know.

Due to this dilemma, my sister and I chose to do some research on our family history as much as we possibly could and it led us to this beautiful, stunning, miraculous place of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. We found that more than likely, this is the place of our ethnic heritage and background. Given my last name “Tucker” which in itself is a slave name, most of the people sold into slavery and sent to North Carolina were from the Turks and Caicos Islands with the last name “Tucker” which why everyone on the Island thought that my sister and I were locals. Besides that evidence of the last name, my sister and I physically looked like all of the Islanders, the women had small, muscular frames with beautiful dark skin. The men looked just like my father, tall, broad shoulders, large eyes, strong cheekbones and dark skin. Although never having been to this place, it was ridiculously familiar to me, the people, the music, the food, the dress, the slang, everything just felt like I was suppose to be here and it was only a return rather than a visit.

When I look at this picture, I can still tasted the fresh Conch that Skylar and I would go diving in the ocean for and pull out of the water to eat raw. When I look at this picture I still remember dancing my heart out at the junkanoo every Thursday night with the island calypso and soca music and waking up to the sun hitting my face early mornings, when I look at this picture I am reminded that Providenciales, Turks and Caicos is HOME.

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